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The  Domestic  Slave  Trade  of  the  Southern  States 


440     FOURTH     AVENUE,     NEW     YORK 

Copyright,  1918,  by 



PREFACE  .......... 






IV  THE  CRIMINALITY  OF  THE  NEGRO     ....      72 
V    SEGREGATION  OF  THE  NEGRO    .        .        .        .        .     101 

VI    NEGRO  WEALTH  OR  POVERTY, — WHICH?           .        .     123 


IN  the  preparation  of  these  pages  an  effort  has 
been  made  to  discover  and  present  the  truth  in  re- 
gard to  the  Negro  in  the  South.  The  first  three 
chapters  need  not  be  considered  an  attempt  at  justi- 
fication of  lynching  nor  an  effort  at  palliation  of  the 
disorder,  but  rather  as  a  setting  forth  of  the  facts, 
conditions,  and  extenuating  circumstances  in  such 
connection.  The  purpose  of  the  other  four  chap- 
ters is  to  throw  light  upon  the  mental,  moral,  and 
material  condition  of  the  Negro. 

W.  H.  C. 

January  30,  1918. 

The  Truth  About  Lynching 
and  the  Negro  in  the  South 



IT  is  generally  supposed  that  the  custom  or 
practice  of  lynching  in  this  country  had  its  origin 
in  the  method  of  punishment  used  by  a  Virginian 
farmer  named  Lynch,  who  during  the  Revolution- 
ary War  sought  in  this  way  to  maintain  order  in 
his  community  or  section, — hence,  Lynch's  Law, 
and  Lynch  law,  from  which  comes  the  word 

In  the  beginning,  however,  the  term  seldom,  if 
ever,  conveyed  the  meaning  "to  put  to  death"; 
nor  does  it  appear  that  Negroes  were  lynched  even 
so  often  as  whites.  The  methods  of  punishment  in 
the  majority  of  cases  consisted  of  riding  the  victim 
on  a  rail,  beating  or  whipping  him,  and  often  of 
giving  him  a  coat  of  tar  and  feathers. 

Moreover,  it  does  not  appear  that  lynching  in 


any  form  was  very  common  in  the  early  history 
of  the  country.  Indeed,  in  1839  a  writer  in  the 
Southern  Literary  Messenger  l  began  a  brief  arti- 
cle on  the  subject  with  the  following: 

"Forty  years  ago  the  practice  of  wreaking  pri- 
vate vengeance  or  of  inflicting  summary  or  illegal 
punishment  for  crime  actual  or  pretended  which 
has  been  glossed  over  by  the  name  Lynch  law 
was  hardly  known  except  in  sparse,  frontier  set- 
tlements beyond  the  reach  of  courts  and  legal  pro- 

Newspapers,  periodicals,  and  other  literature  of 
the  time  show, — as  the  years  pass, — an  interest- 
ing change  in  the  meaning  of  the  term  Lynch  law. 
As  the  practice  of  lynching  increased,  the  methods 
of  the  executors  of  this  law  became  more  severe, 
and  it  grew  more  often  to  mean  "a  putting  to 
death."  Possibly  the  change  in  meaning  was  part- 
ly due  to  the  fact  that  lynching  came  to  be  a  favo- 
rite means  of  punishment  for  abolitionists,  their 
Negro  dupes,  and  for  both  Negroes  and  whites 
who  might  be  found  guilty  of  unusual  or  shock- 
ing crimes. 

The  change  from  the  mild  to  the  severer  mean- 
ing of  the  term  was  gradual.  From  1830  to  1840 

'Vol.  V,  p.  218. 

it  seldom  meant  "to  put  to  death";  from  1850  to 
1 860  it  very  often  had  that  meaning,  and  by  1 870, 
or  1875, — this  became  the  almost  exclusive  inter- 
pretation of  "lynching,"  even  as  at  present. 

The  "New  English  Dictionary"  defines  Lynch 
law  as  "the  practice  of  inflicting  summary  punish- 
ment upon  an  offender,  by  a  self-constituted  court 
armed  with  no  legal  authority;  it  is  now  limited 
to  the  summary  execution  of  one  charged  with 
some  flagrant  offense."  So  this  is  about  the  sense 
(unless  otherwise  indicated)  in  which  I  shall  use 
the  expression  "Lynch  law,"  or  "lynching,"  in 
these  pages. 

In  seeking  a  cause  for  the  great  increase  of 
lynching,  whether  in  its  milder  or  severer  form, 
from  about  1830,  I  think  one  need  not  hesitate  to 
give  first  place  to  the  Anti-Slavery  agitation;  and 
the  Southampton  Slave  Insurrection  is  also  to  be 
considered  as  contributory. 

When,  about  1830,  the  Anti-Slavery  agitation 
began  to  attract  some  attention  there  were  a  num- 
ber of  anti-slavery  societies  in  the  South.  These, 
however,  soon  broke  up  as  those  formed  in  the 
North  became  unreasonable.  The  net  effect  of  the 
societies  in  the  North  was  to  produce  distrust 
and  even  hatred  at  the  South.  It  could  hardly 
have  been  otherwise,  for  the  Northern  anti-slavery 
propagandists  during  the  whole  period  of  such 


agitation  seemed  to  have  regard  for  neither  law 
nor  common  sense.  Nothing  better  could  have 
been  expected  from  them,  however,  as,  for  the 
most  part,  the  abolitionists  were  poor,  misguided 
men  and  women.  Instead  of  adopting  persuasive 
methods  and  of  showing  a  fair  and  conciliatory 
spirit,  they  were  dictatorial,  inflammatory  and 
menacing.  And  by  whatever  of  higher  law  or 
Divine  inspiration  they  may  have  claimed  to  be 
actuated,  they  failed  to  recognize  the  fact  that 
they  had  to  deal  with  human  beings  and  human 

Again,  on  whatever  lofty  plane  of  morality  they 
professed  to  stand,  their  propaganda  did  not  com- 
prehend even  ordinary  honesty.  Indeed,  it  ap- 
pears as  only  another  illustration, — for  history  af- 
fords so  many  instances, — of  self-elected  good 
men  endeavoring  to  impose  their  own  half-blind 
perception  of  the  way  of  the  Lord,  or  their  own 
ideas  of  what  constitutes  righteousness  on  their 
open-eyed  and  superior  fellow-men,  and  exerting 
themselves  to  the  utmost  of  their  ignorance  in 
such  efforts, — thus,  as  is  usual  in  such  cases,  mak- 
ing hell  on  earth.  Even  the  Kaiser  claims  to  be 
the  agent  of  the  Lord. 

William  Lloyd  Garrison,  the  leading  exponent 
of  the  abolition  movement,  called  the  Constitu- 
tion of  the  United  States  "An  Agreement  with 


Death  and  a  Covenant  with  Hell."  In  the  begin- 
ning his  most  earnest  supporters  were  some  pious 
old  women,  who  doubtless  with  fair  intelligence 
and  good  intentions,  like  many  professed  good 
people,  let  their  emotions  aided  by  their  imagina- 
tion get  the  better  of  their  heads.  They  seemed 
to  enjoy  criticizing  the  South,  with  the  occasional 
diversion  of  holding  prayer-meetings  for  Negroes. 

However,  it  was  a  long  while  (even  in  the 
North)  before  the  abolition  movement  gained 
much  headway.  Garrison  himself  was  treated  with 
scarcely  more  consideration  in  the  North  than 
awaited  those  Apostles  of  anti-slavery  that  should 
go  South,  having  persuaded  themselves  that  they 
were  called  to  preach  the  "gospel"  of  abolition  in 
that  benighted  section.  Indeed,  once,  in  1835,  he 
hid  himself  in  order  to  escape  from  a  mob  of 
some  thousands  of  people, — including  many  of  the 
leading  citizens  of  Boston, — that  had  collected  in 
front  of  his  office.  Some  of  the  crowd  found  him 
and  soon  had  a  rope  around  his  neck,  but  he  was 
rescued  by  the  mayor  of  the  city.  About  two  years 
later,  however,  a  noted  abolition  editor,  Rev. 
E.  P.  Lovejoy,  was  killed  by  a  mob  in  Illinois. 

In  1856  The  Liberator  made  the  following  re- 
markable statement  in  regard  to  the  treatment  of 
abolitionists  in  the  South : 


"A  record  of  the  cases  of  Lynch-Law  in  the 
Southern  States  reveals  the  startling  fact  that  with- 
in twenty  years  over  three  hundred  white  persons 
have  been  murdered  upon  the  occasion — in  most 
cases  unsupported  by  legal  proof — of  carrying 
among  the  slaveholders  arguments  addressed  to 
their  own  intellects  and  consciences  as  to  the  mo- 
rality and  expediency  of  slavery."2 

This  is  evidently  a  great  exaggeration.  If  it 
were  alleged  that  over  three  hundred  had  been 
"lynched,"  bearing  in  mind  that  during  those  years 
the  word,  more  often  than  otherwise,  meant  giv- 
ing the  victim  a  coat  of  tar  and  feathers,  and  so  on, 
it  would  not  even  then  be  in  accord  with  what  is 
indicated  by  better  evidence.  Books  of  travel  and 
other  literature  of  the  time  fail  to  show  that  any 
great  number  of  abolitionists  in  the  South  me^t 
death  by  lynching  during  the  period  in  question. 

Indeed,  a  booklet,  "The  New  Reign  of  Terror," 
published  early  in  1860, — and  in  all  probability 
compiled  by  Garrison  himself, — is  weighty  evi- 
dence against  the  truth  of  this  statement.  Ac- 
cording to  The  Liberator,  the  booklet  gave  "multi- 
plied newspaper  accounts  of  lynchings,  murders, 
and  mob  raids  of  the  Black  Power  of  the  Slave 
States  within  the  past  year  [1859]."  Although 

1  The  Liberator,  Dec.  19,  1856. 


this  was  a  time  of  intense  excitement  throughout 
the  South, — a  time  when  a  more  bitter  feeling  was 
manifested  against  abolitionists  than  in  any  previ- 
ous period,  a  careful  examination  of  the  "New 
Reign  of  Terror"  failed  to  reveal  more  than  one 
case  in  which  an  abolitionist  was  put  to  death  by 

There  is  much  evidence  of  a  law-abiding  spirit 
in  the  South  (especially  in  the  eastern  part)  at  the 
beginning  of  the  Anti-Slavery  agitation.  Indeed, 
even  when  lynching  was  resorted  to,  it  seems  to 
have  been  done  with  great  reluctance. 

Another  thing  that  had  some  effect  on  lynching 
was  the  Southampton  Slave  Insurrection,  which  oc- 
curred in  1831.  About  sixty  white  men,  women, 
and  children  were  murdered  in  cold  blood  by  Ne- 
groes. However,  not  more  than  one  of  the  fifty 
or  more  Negroes  concerned  in  it  was  lynched.  In- 
stead, they  were  given  a  fair  trial,  and  disposed 
of  according  to  law.  The  Insurrection  may  have 
caused  an  increase  in  the  lynching  of  Negroes  by 
the  fact  that  it  begat  a  kind  of  fear  and  distrust 
of  the  blacks  everywhere,  caused  them  to  be  more 
carefully  looked  after,  and  more  severely  dealt 
with  when  refractory  or  guilty  of  crime. 

This  was  no  more  than  could  be  expected.  In 
1835  there  were  four  great  fires  in  the  city  of 
Charleston, — all  supposed  to  have  been  the  work 


of  slaves.  Moreover,  up  to  1860  there  were  ru- 
mors of  insurrections,  and  many  minor  insurrec- 
tions did  take  place.  The  abolitionists,  not  with- 
out reason,  were  accused  of  trying  to  set  the  slaves 
against  their  masters  and  of  fostering  outbreaks 
of  the  bondmen. 

Such  things  could  hardly  be  considered  lightly, 
for  in  many  places  the  whites  were  practically  at 
the  mercy  of  the  Negroes.  A  quotation  from  Mur- 
ray,3 an  English  traveler,  may  be  interesting  as  it 
gives  an  example  of  the  situation  in  many  of  the 
Slave  States: 

"The  farms  of  the  two  gentlemen  whom  I  visit- 
ed occupied  the  whole  of  the  peninsula  formed  by 
the  James  River;  they  had  each  two  overseers: 
thus  (their  families  being  young)  the  effective 
strength  of  white  men  on  their  estates  amounted 
to  six:  the  Negroes  were  in  number  about  two 
hundred  and  fifty:  nor  was  there  a  village  or  place 
within  many  miles  from  which  help  could  be  sum- 

Could  one  reasonably  expect  that  any  man  so 
situated  would  be  inclined  to  be  too  ceremonious 
with  any  person,  black  or  white,  however  innocent 
or  saintlike  his  looks,  who  might  be  caught  tam- 
pering with  the  Negroes  and  thereby  jeopardize 

"Murray,  "Travels  in  North  America,"  Vol.  I,  p.  166. 


the  safety  of  his  family  and  those  of  his  neighbors 
as  well?  When  one  considers  the  exasperating 
circumstances,  the  wonder  is  not  that  there  were 
so  many  lynchings  but  rather  that  there  were  so 
few,  comparatively. 

Some  interesting  lynchings  occurred  in  1835. 
They  were  widely  commented  upon  at  the  time. 
One,  the  case  of  a  mulatto  from  Pennsylvania, 
who  was  supposed  to  have  some  connection  with 
the  abolitionists,  was  burned  at  St.  Louis  for  kill- 
ing an  officer  who  was  trying  to  arrest  him  for 
some  crime  he  had  committed.  The  judge's  charge 
to  the  grand  jury  in  reference  to  the  matter  is 
worth  consideration  as  it  indicates  the  attitude  to- 
ward lynching  shown  at  the  time  by  those  in  au- 
thority : 

"He  told  the  jury  that  a  bad  and  lamentable 
deed  had  been  committed  in  burning  a  man  alive 
without  trial,  but  that  it  was  quite  another  ques- 
tion whether  they  were  to  take  any  notice  of  it. 
If  it  should  prove  to  be  the  act  of  a  few,  every 
one  of  those  few  ought  undoubtedly  to  be  indicted 
and  punished;  but  if  it  should  be  proved  to  be 
the  act  of  the  many,  incited  by  that  electric  and 
metaphysical  influence  which  occasionally  carries 
on  a  multitude  to  do  deeds  above  and  beyond  the 


law,   it  was  no  affair  for  the  jury  to  interfere 

The  same  year,  1835,  two  Negroes  were  burned 
near  Mobile.5  The  circumstances  were  these: 

Upon  the  failure  of  a  certain  little  girl  and  her 
brother  to  return  from  school  at  the  proper  time 
a  search  was  made  and  the  body  of  the  girl  at  last 
found.  It  appeared  that  she  had  been  violated, 
then  murdered,  and  her  body  hid  in  order  to  con- 
ceal the  crime.  Soon  after  this,  two  young  ladies 
of  Mobile  were  seized  by  two  Negroes  near  the 
place  where  the  body  of  the  little  girl  was  found. 
The  young  ladies  escaped.  At  once  suspicion 
pointed  to  these  Negroes  as  the  murderers  of  the 
children.  They  were  arrested,  tried  by  the  court, 
and  found  guilty.  The  gentlemen  of  Mobile,  it 
is  said,  then  seized  the  Negroes,  took  them  to  the 
place  of  their  crime,  and  burned  them.  For  it 
was  felt  that  the  law  did  not  furnish  adequate 
means  of  punishment  for  such  fiendish  criminality. 

Another  noted  instance  of  lynching  took  place 
at  Vicksburg  in  the  same  year.  This  time  it  was 
not  a  Negro  but  whites  that  were  lynched. 

For  many  years  the  population  of  the  Missis- 
sippi Valley  had  been  increasing  rapidly.  The 
courts  of  law  were  so  few,  weak,  or  dilatory,  that 

4  Harriett  Martineau,  "Retrospect  of  Western  Travel,"  pp.  30-1. 
e  Ibid.,  "Society   in  America,"   Vol.   II,   pp.   141-2. 


the  better  citizens  sometimes  found  it  necessary  to 
take  the  law  into  their  own  hands  in  order  to  insure 
for  themselves  protection.  Such  was  the  case  at 
Vicksburg.  Some  gamblers  had  lately  made  this 
town  their  home  and  had  established  themselves  at 
the  low  taverns  to  which  they  decoyed  the  young 
men  of  the  vicinity.  These,  after  being  plundered 
and  debauched,  often  cast  their  lot  with  the  gam- 
blers and  became  almost  as  desperate  as  their  cor- 
rupters.  After  a  while  all  restraint  was  thrown 
off,  and  the  gamblers  went  about  the  streets  even 
in  the  daytime  armed  with  deadly  weapons,  and 
by  their  insults,  drunkenness,  and  crimes,  made 
themselves  a  terror  to  the  inhabitants. 

At  length  the  people,  having  decided  to  put  an 
end  to  such  conditions,  held  a  meeting  and  passed 
resolutions,  giving  the  gamblers  notice  to  leave 
within  twenty-four  hours.  But,  instead  of  doing 
so,  they  garrisoned  themselves  in  a  house.  This 
the  men  of  the  town  surrounded,  and  breaking 
open  a  door,  they  were  fired  upon  from  within, 
one  of  the  most  prominent  men  of  the  town  being 
killed.  This  so  enraged  the  people  that  they  took 
the  house  by  storm.  Five  of  the  gamblers  were 
made  prisoners.  Then  a  procession,  headed  by 
the  leading  men  of  the  town,  led  the  gamblers  to 
execution,  hung  them,  and  buried  them  together  in 
a  ditch. 

Featherstonhaugh,  an  English  traveler,  in  writ- 
ing of  the  Mississippi  gamblers,  says: 

"In  various  travels  in  almost  every  part  of  the 
world,  I  never  saw  such  a  collection  of  unblushing, 
low,  degraded  scoundrels."6 

He  also  quotes  a  passage  from  a  justification 
of  the  above  lynching,  which  was  drawn  up  by 
the  people  of  Vicksburg,  and  is  as  follows: 

"Society  may  be  compared  to  the  elements, 
which,  although,  'order  is  their  first  law,'  can  some- 
times be  justified  only  by  a  storm.  Whatever, 
therefore,  sickly  sensibility  or  mawkish  philan- 
thropy may  say  against  the  course  pursued  by  us, 
we  hope  that  our  citizens  will  not  relax  the  code  of 
punishment  which  they  have  enacted  against  this 
infamous,  unprincipled,  and  baleful  class  of  so- 
ciety; and  we  invite  Natchez,  Jackson,  Columbus, 
Warrenton,  and  all  our  sister  towns  throughout 
the  State,  in  the  name  of  our  insulted  laws,  of  of- 
fended virtue,  and  of  slaughtered  innocence,  to  aid 
us  in  exterminating  this  deep-rooted  vice  from  our 
land.  The  revolution  has  been  conducted  here  by 
the  most  respectable  citizens,  heads  of  families, 
members  of  all  classes  and  professions  and  pur- 

"G.    W.    Featherstonhaugh,    "Excursion    through    the    Slave 
States,"  pp.  136-9. 


suits.  None  have  been  heard  to  utter  a  syllable 
of  censure  against  either  the  act  or  the  manner  in 
which  it  was  performed;  and  so  far  as  we  know, 
public  opinion,  both  in  town  and  country,  is  de- 
cidedly in  favor  of  the  course  pursued.  We  have 
never  known  the  public  so  unanimous  on  any  sub- 

Only  a  few  days  before  the  Vicksburg  affair 
two  white  men  and  seven  Negroes  were  lynched 
about  forty  miles  from  Vicksburg  on  the  charge 
of  attempting  to  organize  an  insurrection  of 
slaves.  Featherstonhaugh  quotes  the  following 
account  of  it  from  a  newspaper: 

"Twenty  miles  from  this  place  [Jackson,  in 
Madison  County]  a  company  of  white  men  and 
Negroes  were  detected  before  they  did  any  mis- 
chief. On  Sunday  last  they  hung  two  steam  doc- 
tors, one  named  Cotton  and  the  other  Saunders; 
also,  seven  Negroes  without  law  or  gospel,  and 
from  respectable  authority  we  learn  that  there 
were  two  preachers  and  ten  Negroes  to  be  hanged 
this  day." 

That  such  lynchings  were  exceptional  in  the 
South  before  about  1855,  or  even  before  the  war, 
is  shown  by  the  fact  that  these  cases  were  men- 


tioned  by  several  different  travelers  and  the  papers 
of  the  time  as  well.  I  examined  with  more  or  less 
care  books  of  travel  too  numerous  to  mention, — 
scores  of  them, — for  the  period  between  1830  and 
1860.  Those  travelers,  especially,  who  visited  the 
South  between  1838  and  1854  are  eloquently  si- 
lent on  the  subject.  I  examined  The  Liberator1 
for  1839  and  1840,  but  found  mention  of  only  one 
Negro  who  was  put  to  death  by  a  mob.  No  State 
was  given  so  I  am  not  sure  whether  it  was  in  the 
North  or  the  South.  However,  it  gave  five  in- 
stances of  Negroes  legally  executed  in  the  South; 
one  for  rape,  one  for  arson,  one  for  firing  on  two 
white  men  and  threatening  two  others,  and  two 
for  connection  with  an  attempt  at  insurrection. 
Two  more  cases  may  be  given :  that  of  a  Negro  in 
New  Orleans  suspected  of  rape  and  murder,  and 
one  sentenced  in  Kentucky  for  rape  upon  two 
white  women. 

Again,  a  search  of  The  Liberator  for  1 848  and 
1849;  Niles'  Register,  July,  i845-January, 
1849;  The  Ficksburg  Sentinel,  and  The  Augusta 
(Va.)  Democrat,  July,  i846-January,  1849,  re~ 
veal  out  two  lynchings:  One  a  Negro  "hung  by 
a  committee  of  citizens"  at  Bentonville,  Arkansas; 

7  In  using  The  Liberator  one  needs  to  be  careful,  for  the  same 
instance  is  often  found  to  be  given  two  or  three  different  times, 
— weeks,  even  months  apart. 


the  other,  a  white  man  named  Yeoman,  in  Florida, 
for  robbery.  The  latter  was  given  both  by  Niles' 
Register  and  a  book  of  travel.  However,  one  Ne- 
gro was  sentenced  to  death  in  the  South  for  rape, 
and  ten  legally  executed,  the  majority  for  mur- 

As  one  might  naturally  expect,  The  Liberator 
for  1855  and  1856  shows  several  lynchings  in  the 
South.  At  least  six  Negroes  were  lynched  in  the 
South  during  these  years, — two  for  rape  (one  of 
whom  was  burned)  and  four  for  murder  (one  of 
whom  also  was  burned).  Two  of  these  criminals 
were  lynched  in  Arkansas  by  a  mob, — after  being 
acquitted  by  the  court, — led  by  the  sons  of  their 
master,  whom  they  had  killed.  Two  white  men 
were  also  lynched :  one,  in  Texas,  for  stealing  Ne- 
groes, and  the  other,  in  Missouri,  for  poisoning 
a  spring.  Moreover,  eighteen  Negroes  were 
legally  executed  in  the  South:  two  for  rape,  and 
nearly  all  the  others  for  murder.  In  addition, 
seven  Negroes  were  mentioned  as  under  sentence 
of  death. 

A  quotation  from  Bancroft  clearly  shows  that 
the  number  of  lynchings  in  the  South  at  this  time 
hardly  compares  with  the  number  in  the  West: 

"Out  of  535  homicides  which  occurred  in  Cali- 
fornia during  the  year  1855,"  he  says,  "there  were 


but  seven  legal  executions  and  forty-nine  informal 

One  does  not  need  to  go  far  in  order  to  find  the 
causes  of  the  increase  of  lynching  in  the  South 
after  1850,  or  for  the  disorder  and  commotion 
both  North  and  South  as  well. 

In  1850  the  Fugitive  Slave  law  was  passed.  The 
endeavor  to  enforce  it  gave  great  impetus  to  the 
abolition  cause  in  the  North;  this  reacted  on 
the  South.  Indeed,  many  of  the  same  men  who 
were  ready  to  hang  Garrison  in  1835,  now  became 
his  earnest  adherents.  This  great  change  in  the 
feeling  of  the  North  opened  the  way  for  the  en- 
thusiastic reception  of  "Uncle  Tom's  Cabin" 
when,  in  1852,  it  was  published  in  book  form.  The 
author  of  this  book  ingeniously  made  the  isolated 
and  exceptional  incidents  of  slavery  appear  as  the 
general  condition  of  the  institution;  however,  as 
for  the  chief  character  of  the  book,  Uncle  Tom, 
it  is  very  doubtful  whether  the  pure  Negro  race 
ever  produced  such  an  individual.  Nevertheless, 
this  piece  of  fiction  was  read  by  hundreds  of  thou- 
sands both  in  the  North  and  in  foreign  countries 
as  if  it  were  "Gospel  truth." 

Another  thing  that  added  to  the  excitement  and 
helped  the  abolitionists  was  the  Dred  Scott  Decis- 

8  H.  H.  Bancroft,  "Popular  Tribunals,"  Vol.  I,  p.  749. 


ion,  given  in  1857.  Then,  in  1859,  came  "Help- 
ers' Impending  Crisis,"  a  book  of  great  influence. 
At  last,  in  1859,  as  if  to  "cap  the  climax,"  the 
whole  country  was  startled  by  John  Brown's  Raid. 
After  this,  the  greater  part  of  the  South,  suddenly, 
became  an  extremely  unhealthful  place  for  both 
abolitionists  and  unruly,  criminal,  or  insurrection- 
ary Negroes. 

"The  New  Reign  of  Terror,"  mentioned  above, 
published  early  in  1860,  not  many  months  after 
John  Brown's  Raid,  has  the  following,  which  indi- 
cates the  then  feeling  in  the  South: 

"In  almost  every  city,  town,  and  village  south 
of  the  border  slave-holding  States,  Vigilance  Com- 
mittees have  been  appointed  to  put  to  inquisition 
every  Northern  man  who  makes  his  appearance 
in  the  place,  whether  as  foe  or  friend.  Even 
harmless  young  women,  who  have  gone  from 
Northern  boarding  schools  to  be  teachers  of 
Southern  children  have  been  waited  upon  by  re- 
spectable and  even  clerical  gentlemen  with  the 
polite  hint  that  the  sooner  they  leave  the  State 
the  better  for  their  safety." 

The  Augusta  Dispatch9  warned  the  South 
against  "strange  loafing  white  men,  and  especially 

"Quoted  by  Liberator,  Aug.  24,  1860. 


the  one-horse  invalid  preachers  from  the  North," 
for  it  said: 

"We  would  guard  well  against  imposition  from 
transient  'candles  of  the  Lord'  lest  we  suffer  them 
to  light  the  fires  of  insurrection,  instead  of  bearing 
aloft  the  light  of  the  Gospel." 

Indeed,  in  many  Southern  States  there  were 
rumors  of  Negro  insurrections.  In  Mississippi, 
Georgia,  and  Alabama  plots  of  Negro  insurrec- 
tions were  discovered  in  1860.  In  Texas,  how- 
ever, the  greatest  excitement  prevailed.  What 
was  supposed  to  be  a  State-wide  insurrection  was 
discovered.  Dallas  and  other  towns  were  partly 
burned  before  it  was  checked. 

The  excited  state  of  the  public  mind  in  some  in- 
stances may  have  suspected  plots  of  insurrection 
when  none  existed.  However  that  may  be, 
wherever  and  whenever  such  a  plot  was  dis- 
covered, investigation  nearly  always  pointed  to  the 
abolitionists  as  the  instigators.  Indeed,  even  when 
Negroes  were  insubordinate  and  refractory  on  a 
plantation,  it  was  often  found  that  they  had  been 
tampered  with  by  abolitionists. 

Occasionally,  when  such  things  were  proved 
against  an  abolitionist  beyond  the  possibility  of  a 
doubt,  he  would  be  immediately  hanged  to  the 


limb  of  some  convenient  tree.  Several  were  so 
dealt  with  in  connection  with  the  insurrection  in 
Texas.  As  a  rule,  however,  when  the  proof  was 
not  so  conclusive,  a  severe  whipping,  or  a  coat  of 
tar  and  feathers,  would  be  given  him,  and  then 
he  would  be  forcefully  admonished  to  leave  the 

One  cannot  but  reach  the  conclusion  that  the 
anti-slavery  agitation  was  detrimental  to  the  hap- 
piness and  welfare  of  the  slaves,  and  to  the  free 
Negroes  as  well.  Of  the  latter  there  were  in  the 
slave  States  (by  the  fifties)  something  like  225,- 
ooo.  The  majority  of  these  were  indolent,  miser- 
able, and  often  vi,cious.  Finally  some  States  passed 
laws  giving  them  the  option  of  leaving  such  State 
or  of  being  sold  into  slavery. 

Nearly  everywhere  more  stringent  regulations 
and  laws  10  were  made  both  for  slaves  and  for  free 
Negroes.  The  slaves  were  deprived  of  many  for- 
mer privileges,  the  enjoyment  of  which  by  the  Ne- 
groes might  be  dangerous  for  the  white  people. 
They  were  more  closely  guarded  and  much  more 
harshly  dealt  with  when  guilty  of  offenses  or 
crimes.  Indeed,  three  Negroes  in  as  many  States 
were  burned  in  1859  for  the  murder  of  their  mas- 

10  The  attitude  toward  both  slaves  and  free  Negroes  varied 
in  different  Southern  States;  but  as  a  result  of  the  anti-slavery 
agitation,  as  we  approach  1860  the  more  severe  it  becomes. 


ters, — one  of  these  was  burned  before  1,500  or 
2,000  people. 

Nevertheless,  it  is  quite  evident  that  through- 
out the  period  from  1830  to  1860  the  lynching  of 
Negroes  was  sporadic, — and  usually  was  resorted 
to  only  for  exceptional  reasons.  Generally  the 
law  was  allowed  to  take  its  course.  However,  it 
is  also  plain  that  after  1850  the  law  was  relied 
on  less  and  less,  while  the  people  more  and  more 
assumed  the  initiative  in  such  matters  as  the  ex- 
citement increased.  What  was  true  as  regards  the 
Negro  was  undoubtedly  true  also  as  regards  the 
treatment  of  the  abolitionists. 



IT  is  said  that  an  Abolitionist  Society  by  a  bribe 
of  $3,000  induced  the  slave  valet  of  Henry  Clay 
to  leave  him  and  go  North.  The  Society  thought 
that  this  large  sum  would  be  well  spent  in  produc- 
ing what  would  appear  to  be  such  a  noteworthy 
example  of  dissatisfaction  with  the  condition  of 
slavery.  Though  the  Negro  accepted  the  money 
and  left,  he  soon  repented  and  returned  to  his 
master.  Thereupon  Clay  gave  him  $3,000  (for 
the  Negro  had  long  since  spent  the  bribe),  telling 
him  that  when  he  had  returned  the  sum  to  those 
who  had  tried  to  corrupt  him  that  he  would  be  re- 
stored to  his  master's  service.  The  money  was 
given  back  as  directed  and  Clay  then  took  the 
Negro  back  as  his  valet. 

Such  a  case  was,  no  doubt,  exceptional.  In 
one  way  or  another,  however,  the  abolitionists 
produced  more  or  less  dissatisfaction  among  the 
slaves  and  were  almost  wholly  responsible  for  the 



escape  to  the  North  of  something  like  an  average 
of  2,000  a  year.  The  Negroes  did  not  always  find 
conditions  in  the  North  so  favorable  as  they  had 
been  led  to  suppose.  As  a  consequence  it  did  not 
infrequently  happen  that  a  "runaway"  Negro 
would  become  dissatisfied  and  return  of  his  own 
free  will  to  his  master  in  the  South. 

During  the  Civil  War  those  slaves  who  for  any 
reason  had  become  dissatisfied  with  their  condition 
embraced  the  first  opportunity  to  gather  in  the 
wake  of  the  Union  army, — mainly,  no  doubt,  to 
shun  work. 

While  this  was  true  as  an  exception,  the  great 
mass  of  the  slaves  remained  quietly  at  work  on 
the  plantations.  Thus,  instead  of  creating  an- 
tagonism between  the  two  races,  the  War  served 
rather  to  foster  and  cement  a  good  feeling  between 
them;  indeed,  throughout  its  darkest  days  they 
lived  harmoniously  side  by  side.  Elizabeth  Col- 
lins, an  Englishwoman,  who  was  in  South  Caro- 
lina the  greater  part  of  the  War,  says: 

"In  regard  to  the  slave  population  of  Charles- 
ton, I  may  say  that  they  appear  to  be,  almost 
without  exception,  happy  and  contented."1 

Indeed,   an   examination  of   several  .Southern 

1  Elizabeth  Collins,  "Memories  of  the  Southern  States,"  p.  46. 


newspapers  and  some  books  of  travel 2  revealed 
but  two  possible  cases  of  lynching  of  Negroes  in 
the  South  during  the  War :  A  Mr.  Harris,  Uchee, 
Alabama,  was  murdered  by  six  of  his  Negroes, 

"The  citizens  of  the  county  about  ninety  in  num- 
ber, after  consultation,  determined  upon  the  im- 
mediate execution  of  the  murderers."  8 

The  other  case  was  in  Mississippi :  Some  Ne- 
groes were  hung,  seemingly,  for  trying  to  get  on 
a  steamboat  in  order  to  escape  from  slavery.4  The 
Liberator 5  mentions  two  instances  of  Negroes 
being  lynched  in  New  York  in  1863 :  A  negro  in 
jail  at  Newburg,  on  suspicion  of  rape,  was  taken 
out  by  a  mob  "who  pounded  him  almost  to  death 
and  then  hung  him  on  a  tree  until  he  was  finished." 
Two  were  also  lynched  in  the  City  of  New  York, 
one  of  whom,  it  seems,  was  roasted  alive. 

In  no  place  was  there  any  mention  of  any  Ne- 
groes being  lynched  for  rape  in  the  South  during 
the  War.  Indeed,  it  is  often  said  that  during  the 

'The  Frankfort  (Ky.)  Commonwealth,  The  Charleston  (S. 
C.)  Mercury,  The  Louisville  (Ky.)  Democrat  for  1863  and 
1864,  The  Daily  News  (Savannah),  for  1862  and  one  Northern 
paper,  The  Liberator  (Boston)  for  1863.  The  books  of  travel 
include  Elizabeth  Collins'  "Memories  of  the  Southern  States." 

'Savannah  News,  June  9,  1862. 

4  The  Liberator,  Feb.  22,  1863. 

'Ibid.,  June  26  and  July  24,   1863. 


Civil  War  when  the  white  men  were  nearly  all 
away  from  home,  leaving  the  white  women  almost 
at  the  mercy  of  the  slaves,  no  Negro  was  guilty  of 
a  criminal  outrage  against  them.6  It  may  be  true. 
Viewed  in  the  light  of  the  sporadic  occurrence  of 
the  crime  under  the  restraining  influence  of  slavery 
before  the  War,  and  of  its  quite  frequent  occur- 
rence sometime  after,  it  is  both  remarkable  and 

It  may  truly  be  regarded  as  evidence  not  only  of 
the  generally  fair  treatment  that,  according  to  un- 
prejudiced travelers,  they  were  receiving  in  sla- 
very, as  well  as  a  tribute  to  their  fidelity,  but  it 
also  makes  it  obvious  that  the  Negro  and  the 
Southern  white  man  might  have  continued  in  har- 
mony mutually  advantageous  after  the  War,  had 
both  been  free  from  outside  influences. 

Almost  immediately  after  the  War,  however, 
the  South  began  to  "swarm"  with  harebrained 
preachers  and  teachers  from  the  North,  ostensibly 
to  elevate  the  Negro;  as  a  rule,  though,  they 
served  no  better  purpose  than  to  aid  in  setting  the 
Negro  against  his  former  master.  For,  it  seems, 
they  cared  not  what  became  of  the  white  man  so 
they  secured  the  "salvation"  of  the  Negro,  en- 
tirely ignoring  that  saying  of  Scripture  which  is  to 
the  effect  that  those  who  fail  to  serve  first  their 

*  Grimke,  "Lynching  of  Negroes,"  p.  29. 


own  house  or  people  have  denied  the  faith  and  are  ' 
worse  than  infidels.7 

Such  a  condition  of  affairs  was  promoted  by 
Congress,  who,  at  about  the  close  of  the  War  es- 
tablished the  so-called  "Freedmen's  Bureau,"  and 
shortly  after  passed  the  Civil  Rights  bill,  both  of 
which  tended  to  cause  friction  between  the  two 
races.  However,  as  compared  with  that  of  a  few 
years  later,  the  trouble  does  not  appear  to  have 
been  very  serious  notwithstanding  exaggerated  ac- 
counts which  were  reported  to  Northern  papers. 
In  most  parts  of  the  South  and  at  most  times  for 
something  like  two  years  after  the  War,  there 
was  comparative  quiet  and  safety. 

The  crimes  of  the  Negroes  during  these  years 
were  for  the  most  part  of  a  trifling  kind, — petty 
thievery  and  robbery.  However,  it  is  true  they 
committed  crimes  of  a  very  serious  nature,  also. 
Notwithstanding,  the  law  was  generally  allowed 
to  have  its  way.  Harriett  Martineau  observes  in 
one  of  her  books  that  nothing  struck  her  more  than 
the  patience  of  the  slave-owners  of  the  South  with 
their  slaves.  Even  during  the  first  years  after 
the  War  a  patient  and  even  indulgent  spirit  was 
often  manifested  by  the  leading  whites  toward  the 
Negroes  as  to  their  shortcomings  and  sometimes 
it  extended  to  their  serious  crimes. 

7  7  Timothy,  V,  8. 


For  instance,  in  1866,  near  Rome,  Georgia,  a 
whole  family  consisting  of  a  man,  wife,  and  two 
daughters,  were  murdered,  and  one  of  the  women, 
ravished.  The  newspaper  account  ends  with  :8 

"It  was  difficult  to  restrain  the  people  from  in- 
flicting summary  punishment  upon  them." 

For  such  a  crime  now,  a  Negro  would  likely  be 
burned  alive.  The  same  paper  quotes  the  follow- 
ing from  The  Raleigh  Progress:  9 

"Charles  Wethers,  the  rascally  Negro,  who  at- 
tempted to  commit  a  rape  upon  a  highly  respect- 
able young  lady  of  this  county  some  weeks  ago, 
was  placed  in  the  stocks  this  morning  for  the  last 
time,  having  completed  his  sit  still  in  the  burning 
sun  for  two  hours  during  each  day  of  this  week. 
He  was  returned  to  jail  and  will  remain  in  the 
custody  of  the  sheriff  till  the  workhouse  is  ready, 
in  which  institution  he  will  labor  at  five  dollars  per 
month  until  the  fine,  $200,  and  the  cost  of  the  trial 
have  been  liquidated  by  muscle." 

Would  it  now  be  possible  for  any  one  to  take 
such  a  tolerant,  if  not  ewn  good-natured, — view 
of  such  an  affair? 

8  Richmond  Times,  Oct.  24,  1866. 
"Ibid.,  Sept.  n,  1866. 


In  order  to  make  a  comparison  I  have  selected 
for  study,  here,  two  three-year  periods:  First, 
1866-7-8,  including  the  year  before  and  year  after 
the  passing  of  the  Reconstruction  Act  of  1867  for 
the  South;  second,  1873-4-5,  when  the  carpet-bag 
rule,  which  resulted  from  the  Reconstruction  pol- 
icy of  Congress,  was  in  full  operation.  Although 
the  number  of  lynchings  during  the  first  and  sec- 
ond periods  are  in  striking  contrast,  even  this  but 
faintly  indicates  the  great  change  from  the  com- 
parative tranquillity  of  the  first  (as  illustrated  by 
newspapers)10  to  the  confusion,  chaos,  and  crime 
of  the  second. 

In  1866,  one  Negro  was  lynched  in  the  South 
for  attempted  rape,  another  was  sentenced  to 
death  for  rape,  and  one  was  sentenced  to  the  peni- 
tentiary for  a  like  crime.  Also,  near  Smithfield, 
Ohio,  Negroes  committed  outrages  on  two  girls. 
In  Kentucky  three  white  men  were  lynched  for 
murder,  and  three  more  were  put  to  death  by  a 

"Newspapers  examined  for  first  period:  Richmond  Times, 
1866;  Richmond  Times,  Baltimore  American,  and  the  New  Or- 
leans Times,  1867;  and  the  Sun  (Baltimore),  Leader  (Balti- 
more) and  Atlanta  News  Era,  1868;  second,  Missouri  Republi- 
can, Baltimore  American,  1873;  Richmond  Enquirer,  Baltimore 
American,  St.  Louis  Republican,  1874;  Baltimore  American, 
St.  Louis  Republican,  Richmond  Enquirer,  and  New  Orleans 
Republican,  1875.  I  do  not  claim  that  I  found  every  case  of 
lynching  in  the  South  for  either  period,  but  as  the  same  case 
would  often  be  found  in  two  or  three  different  papers,  I  be- 
lieve that  I  found  practically  all. 


band  of  regulators.  No  doubt  Kentucky  was  in- 
fluenced in  such  matters  by  the  example  of  the 

The  following  occurred  in  1867:  one  Negro 
lynched  in  Missouri  by  Germans  for  the  murder 
of  a  German ;  a  Negro  given  sixty  lashes  in  Dela- 
ware for  assaulting  two  white  women;  three  Ne- 
groes legally  hanged  at  Charleston,  S.  C.,  for  out- 
rage. In  the  North,  two  or  more  Negro  soldiers, 
deserters,  lynched  in  Kansas  for  the  rape  of  a 
white  woman ;  four  white  men  lynched  in  Indiana 
for  murder  and  robbery;  thirty  men  hanged  in 
three  Kansas  counties  by  Vigilantes  during  the 
winter  and  spring. 

For  1868  :  Two  Negroes  who  confessed  to  the 
horrible  murder  of  a  white  family  in  Mississippi 
were  taken  from  a  sheriff  by  a  band  of  Negroes 
and  burned ;  n  one  Negro  was  lynched  in  Ken- 
tucky for  rape  and  another  in  Maryland  for  at- 
tempted rape;  two  Negroes,  in  jail  for  murder, 
lynched  in  Mississippi  after  boasting  that  the 
Loyal  League  would  prevent  their  execution,  even 
if  convicted;  a  man  lynched  in  Tennessee  after  he 

"This  lynching  of  the  two  Negroes  by  Negroes  is  the  only 
case  I  found  where  Negroes  alone  did  the  lynching  in  cases  of 
crime  against  the  whites.  Several  times  during  the  seventies, 
however,  Negroes  are  found  helping  the  whites  to  lynch  some 
Negro  guilty  of  crime.  It  shows,  I  believe,  that  in  some  places, 
at  least,  the  Negroes  were  yet  in  accord  with  the  Southern 


had  confessed  to  the  murder  of  three  men  at  dif- 
ferent times.  In  North  Carolina  over  thirty  Ne- 
gro desperadoes,  who  confessed  to  several  mur- 
ders and  robberies,  were  captured  and  put  in  jail. 
Ten  Adam's  Express  robbers  were  lynched  in  In- 
diana; two  men  lynched  for  murder  in  Illinois 
and  one  for  stealing  horses  in  Colorado.12 

In  1873,  however,  six  Negroes  were  lynched  in 
the  South  for  rape;  three  were  legally  executed 
for  the  same  crime;  one,  condemned  to  be  hung, 
and  three  awaiting  trial — in  all,  thirteen  Negroes 
charged  with  rape.  In  Louisiana,  three  Negroes 
were  lynched  in  the  presence  of  1,000  people  for 
an  atrocious  murder;  four  men  were  also  lynched 
in  Louisiana  for  cattle-stealing,  and  another  in 
the  same  State  for  arson.  Also,  one  white  man 
was  lynched  in  Tennessee  by  fifteen  Negroes.  Two 
Negroes  were  legally  hanged  for  murder, — one 
in  Kentucky,  the  other  in  Virginia.  In  the  North: 
One  white  man  was  lynched  in  Ohio  for  rape;  a 
Negro  and  a  white  man  were  lynched  in  Nebraska 
for  robbery,  also  a  Negro  for  murder;  two  men 
were  lynched  in  Montana  for  murder  and  two  in 
Kansas  for  supposed  murder. 

During  the  year  1874,  eleven  Negroes  and  one 

a  So  far  as  the  North  and  West  are  concerned,  I  simply  hap- 
pened te  find  such  without  any  special  search.  I  was  searching 
carefully  for  lyochings  in  the  South,  etc. 


white  man  were  lynched  in  the  South  for  rape, 
while  two  Negroes  were  legally  executed  for  the 
crime.  In  two  instances, — one  in  Arkansas,  the 
other  in  Missouri, — both  Negroes  and  whites  took 
part  in  lynching  Negroes.  Three  Negroes  were 
also  lynched  in  the  South  for  murder  and  two  for 
riot;  and  four  Negroes  in  Tennessee  for  threat- 
ening to  kill  some  whites  and  to  sack  and  burn  a 
town.  In  addition,  ten  white  men  were  lynched, 
four  in  Arkansas  and  one  in  Missouri  for  horse- 
stealing,  the  others  in  the  States  of  the  Southwest 
for  scandalous  murders.  In  the  North,  two  Ne- 
groes were  lynched  for  murder,  and  two  Negroes 
in  Pennsylvania  and  one  white  man  in  Kansas  for 
rape.  In  the  North,  also,  seven  white  men,  one 
Mexican  and  one  Chinaman  were  lynched  for  mur- 
der, and  one  white  man  for  horse-stealing  and  an- 
other for  thievery. 

In  1875,  the  last  year  of  the  second  period, — 
nine  Negroes  were  lynched  in  the  South  for  rape 
and  four  for  attempted  rape;  also,  one  Negro 
guilty  of  rape,  and  another  who  attempted  rape, 
escaped, — in  all,  fifteen  rape  cases.13  One  man 
and  two  Negroes  were  lynched  for  murder.  Also 
one  Negro  was  legally  executed  for  rape,  eleven 

18  In  1875,  there  was  another  interesting  case  in  which  both 
Negroes  and  whites,  about  equal  in  number,  lynched  a  Negro 
for  attempted  rape  of  a  white  woman. 


for  murder,  and  one  case  cause  not  given.  In  the 
North,  one  Negro  was  lynched,  cause  not  given, 
and  one  Negro  guilty  of  rape,  escaped.  Three 
men,  also,  were  lynched  for  murder,  one  for  arson, 
and  one  in  New  York  for  robbery. 

By  comparing  the  two  three-year  periods  it  will 
be  found  that  during  1 866-8  there  were  seven 
cases  of  rape  or  attempted  rape  by  Negroes  in 
the  South.  In  three  instances  they  were  lynched 
and  in  four,  the  law  was  allowed  to  take  its  course. 
While  for  1873-5,  twenty-six  Negroes  were 
lynched  for  rape,  and  four  for  attempted  rape.  Six 
Negroes  were  legally  executed  for  rape,  one  was 
under  sentence  of  death  for  the  crime,  three  were 
awaiting  trial  and  two  escaped — in  all  forty-two 
Negroes  in  the  South  were  charged  with  rape 
during  the  second  period.  This  was  just  six  times 
as  many  as  for  the  first  period.  Further,  ten 
times  the  number  of  Negroes  were  lynched  for 
rape  in  the  South  during  1873-5  as  during  1 866-8, 
or  but  43  -  -  per  cent  of  those  charged  with  the 
crime  during  the  first  period  as  against  73  -(-  per 
cent  for  the  second. 

That  this  wonderful  change  was  due  almost 
wholly  to  misgovernment  at  Washington,  no  one 
can  doubt.  Surely,  History  was  never  obliged 
to  record  a  more  colossal  blunder  in  statesmanship 
than  that  of  Congressional  Reconstruction.  Nor 


is  it  likely  that  any  civilized  people  were  ever  be- 
fore called  upon  to  endure  a  system  of  misrule 
and  legalized  plunder  equal  to  that  which  such 
legislation,  maybe  unwittingly,  paved  the  way  for 
inaugurating  at  the  South. 

The  confusion,  turmoil,  and  strife  that  it  cre- 
ated is  only  too  well  known.  Not  only  did  it  re- 
sult in  a  cleavage  of  the  social  structure,  setting 
one  part  against  the  other,  but  it  also  caused  as 
much  or  more  financial  damage  to  the  South  than 
the  War  itself.  For  instance,  four  and  one-half 
years  of  Reconstruction,  it  is  said,  cost  the  State 
of  Louisiana  alone  over  $106,000,000;  while  the 
assessed  valuation  of  property  in  New  Orleans 
dropped  from  $147,000,000  to  $88,500,000  dur- 
ing eight  years  of  carpet-bag  rule. 

It  was  made  easy  for  political-fortune  hunters 
from  the  North,  with  little  concern  for  the  good  of 
either  the  whites  or  the  blacks  of  the  South,  to 
gain  position  and  power  through  cultivating  the 
friendship  of  the  ignorant,  credulous,  newly  en- 
franchised Negroes.  This  they  assiduously  did 
from  the  start.  At  the  same  time  they  left  noth- 
ing undone  which  might  create  and  foster  among 
the  Negroes  a  feeling  of  ill  will  against  and  dis- 
trust of  the  Southern  whites.  If  their  former 
masters  came  into  power,  the  Negroes  were  some- 
times told,  they  would  be  reduced  to  slavery.  The 


Negroes'  love  of  display  was  appealed  to  by  en- 
couraging them  to  form  secret  societies,  to  make 
public  parades,  and  hold  celebrations  which  tend- 
ed to  create  a  race  consciousness  and  race  soli- 
darity. This,  of  course,  was  for  the  purpose  of 
helping  the  carpet-baggers  in  perpetuating  their 
power.  If  one  considers  the  conditions,  what  else 
could  be  expected  but  riots  and  lynchings? 

If  the  control  of  the  Negroes  in  slavery  times, 
with  all  the  advantages  to  such  end  embodied  in 
the  institution  of  slavery,  had  often  been  one  of 
anxiety  to  the  South,  how  fearful  must  have  been 
the  conditions  now  that  they  were  not  only  free 
from  such  control  but  enfranchised  and  taught  by 
their  new  friends  to  be  self-assertive,  even  if  not 
sometimes  encouraged  in  acts  of  violence  against 
the  Southern  white  people  ?  It  does,  indeed,  seem 
that  a  great  part  of  the  Negroes  almost  ran  wild — 
for  they  were  free,  but  did  not  understand  how 
to  use  their  freedom.  So,  lazy,  worthless,  rob- 
bing, murdering  gangs  of  them  went  prowling 
through  the  South.  For  it  is  as  natural  for  the 
Negro  to  sit  in  idleness,  or  shoot  crap,  to  go  on 
marauding  expeditions  or  connive  at  insurrections, 
as  it  is  for  the  white  man  to  establish  courts,  col- 
lect libraries,  and  found  schools. 

Can  History  prove  that  the  Negro,  during  his 
thousands  of  years  of  contact  with  superior  races, 


has  ever  yet  risen  to  the  dignity  of  stable  and 
progressive  self-government?  Even  Liberia,  with 
all  the  help  that  has  been  given  her,  is  gradually 
sinking  to  the  level  of  the  surrounding  barbarism. 
And  what  of  San  Domingo?  Indeed,  everywhere 
the  tendency  of  the  pure  Negro  is  to  fall  when  the 
white  man's  props  are  removed. 

To  return:  If  there  ever  was  a  time  when  the 
best  elements  in  a  society  were  justified  in  taking 
the  law  into  their  own  hands,  that  time  was  during 
carpet-bag  rule.  The  wonder  now  is  that  such 
a  people  as  those  of  the  South  should  have  acted 
with  even  the  moderation  that  appears. 

That  some  of  the  carpet-bag  governments  were 
absolutely  corrupt  goes  without  saying.  "Get  all 
you  can  in  any  way  you  can"  seemed  to  be  the 
idea.  Justice  was  for  sale.  In  some  instances,  it 
is  said,  the  criminal  elements  knew  that  any  one 
could  commit  crime  and  escape  punishment  for  a 
money  consideration.  A  few  examples  may  be 
of  interest:14  A  man  who  was  accused  of  out- 
rageously murdering  a  woman,  although  caught 
and  imprisoned,  was  released,  it  is  said,  without 
even  a  trial,  for  $800.  Moreover,  a  Negro  who 
had  been  sentenced  by  a  court  to  the  penitentiary 
was  released  and  returned  home  on  the  same  train 
as  the  sheriff  who  took  him  there.  Indeed,  the  ac- 

14  St.  Louis  Republican,  Sept.  14,  1875. 


cusation  was  made  that  a  certain  carpet-bag  gov- 
ernor, in  order  to  help  the  Republican  Party,  con- 
nived at  the  killing  of  a  number  of  Negroes  in 
such  a  way  that  the  blame  might  fall  on  the  South- 
ern whites.  At  one  place,15  a  court  in  passing 
judgment  on  a  convicted  Negro  rapist  merely  sent 
him  to  the  penitentiary,  which  so  enraged  the  peo- 
ple of  the  community  that  they  took  him  from  jail 
and  hanged  him  near  the  place  of  his  crime. 

In  order  that  one  may  the  better  understand  the 
reason  for  the  development  of  the  lynching  spirit 
in  the  South  the  following  quotations  are  given: 

I.  "New  Iberia,  La.,  Sept.  13,  the  Parish  of 
Vermilion  for  years  has  been  infested  with  cattle 
thieves.  The  people  have  been  unable  to  obtain 
redress  by  process  of  law  and  last  month  they  or- 
ganized a  vigilant  committee  as  a  last  resort.  A 
large  number  of  thieves  and  their  confederates 
were  given  notice  to  leave  within  a  specified  time 
but  instead  of  doing  so  armed  themselves  and 
threatened  to  destroy  the  town  of  Abbeville.  The 
Vigilantes  pressed  them  and  they  scattered.  It  is 
reported  that  three  of  the  band  were  hung  on 
Friday.  .  .  .  All  kinds  of  vague  rumors  are  afloat 
concerning  the  number  executed."  16 

"St.  Louis  Republican,  July  22,  1875. 
"Missouri  Republican,  Sept.  14,  1873. 


II.  "The  right  of  a  robbed  people  to  revolt 
against  robbery.  ...  In  Edgefield,  S.  C.,  a  few 
days  ago  the  country  was  startled  by  a  resolution 
adopted  at  a  meeting  of  the  citizens  of  the  county, 
which  declared  that,  'Parties  black  or  white  who 
may  be  caught  in  the  act  of  firing  any  house  in  this 
county  shall  be  dealt  with  in  accordance  with  the 
precedents  of  Lynch  law,  which  is  a  part  of  the 
unwritten  law  of  America.' 

"Edgefield  people  present  a  statement  of  facts 
which  while  not  justifying  resort  to  Lynch  law 
shows  a  strong  provocation  for  it.  Just  before 
the  November  election,  the  most  prominent  white 
Radical  of  the  county  is  said  to  have  advised  the 
Negroes  to  burn  the  houses  of  the  whites;  and  that 
this  advice  was  not  lost  on  them  seems  to  be 
proved  by  the  fact  that  thirteen  citizens  were 
burned  out  of  their  homes  by  incendiaries  between 
the  yth  and  I9th  of  December.  The  Radicals 
have  a  large  majority  and  they  have  used  their 
power  without  mercy. 

"No  security  for  persons  or  property,  for  the 
Negroes  and  poor  whites  who  act  with  them  had 
a  majority  on  every  jury  so  that  it  was  impossible 
to  convict  one  of  their  number  no  matter  how  plain 
the  evidence.  And  even  if  convicted  was  prompt- 
ly pardoned  by  the  infamous  executive,  Moses. 
To  such  an  extent  was  this  carried  that  Carpenter, 


the  Republican  Judge  of  the  circuit,  announced 
that  he  would  not  permit  the  State  to  be  put  to 
the  expense  of  trying  criminals  who  were  pardoned 
as  soon  as  convicted.  The  citizens  assert  that 
Lynch  law  is  the  only  remedy  for  the  evils  they 
endure  and  therefore  they  proclaim  it.  They  may 
be  wrong  but  they  are  more  sinned  against  than 
sinning."  17 

III.  "Augusta,  Ga.,  Aug.  23. — Several  promi- 
nent Negroes  connected  with  the  troubles  in  the 
qounties  below  have  made  confessions.  Jake 
Moorman,  First  Lieutenant  of  a  Negro  company, 
testifies  on  oath  that  19  counties  were  to  be  em- 
braced in  the  insurrection.  All  white  men  and 
ugly  white  women  were  to  be  killed.  Pretty  white 
women  were  to  be  spared  and  the  land  and  spoils 
were  to  be  divided  among  the  Negroes.18  All  who 
have  so  far  confessed  testify  to  substantially  the 
same  as  Jake  Moorman."  19 

"Editorial,  St.  Louis  Republican,  Jan.  i,  1875. 

"This  recalls  an  account  of  the  Texan  Negro  insurrection  of 
1860  as  quoted  by  The  Liberator  of  July  21,  1860:  "The  old 
females  were  to  be  slaughtered  along  with  the  men,  and  the 
young  and  handsome  women  were  to  be  parcelled  out  among 
those  infamous  scoundrels.  They  had  even  gone  so  far  as  to 
designate  their  choice.  .  .  .  The  Negroes  have  been  incited  to 
these  infernal  proceedings  by  the  abolitionists." 

19  St.  Louis  Republican,  Aug.  24,  1875.  Accounts  of  riots  in 
Mississippi,  in  which  several  were  killed,  were  given  by  the 
same  paper,  Sept  5,  7,  1875. 


However,  in  some  States, — for  instance,  Vir- 
ginia, Maryland,  and  Delaware, — where  the 
Southern  whites  had  control,  order  was  preserved 
and  comparative  quiet  prevailed,  while  the  lynch- 
ing of  Negroes  was  sporadic,  not  only  during  this 
early  period,  but  even  until  the  present.  Discord 
and  collisions  between  the  two  races  have  been 
almost  unknown. 

It  is  doubtful  if  any  greater  mistake  was  made 
in  dealing  with  the  South  after  the  War  than  in 
disfranchising  the  leading  Southern  whites  and 
granting  the  Negro  suffrage.  The  Negro  might 
have  been  given  the  ballot  gradually  as  he  proved 
himself  fitted  for  it  without  any  detriment.  But 
considering  the  race  as  a  whole — it  may  be  put- 
ting it  too  mild — it  may  be  too  great  a  compli- 
ment to  the  Negro, — too  disparaging  to  the  in- 
telligence of  the  average  white  boy, — to  say  that 
the  Negroes,  with  some  exceptions,  at  that  time 
were  no  more  fit  for  the  ballot  than  seven-year-old 
boys.  Nor  was  it  any  more  reasonable  to  expect 
them  to  act  the  part  of  men  in  using  it,  or  in  politi- 
cal affairs,  than  to  expect  it  from  seven-year-old 
boys.  They  were,  and  to  a  large  extent  are  yet, 
a  race  in  its  childhood. 

President  Lincoln,  however,  seems  to  have  un- 
derstood better  than  any  one  else  of  his  party 
what  was  for  the  best  interest  of  both  races :  That 


the  Negroes,  at  least,  for  a  while,  with  proper 
guarantees  and  restrictions,  should  be  in  a  posi- 
tion of  tutelage  or  apprenticeship  to  the  whites. 
Indeed,  there  is  little  doubt  that  he  expected  the 
Southern  States  to  make  some  such  temporary  ar- 
rangements, for  in  a  proclamation,  December  8, 
1863,  in  reference  to  the  reestablishment  of  State 
governments  by  several  States  of  the  farther 
South,  he  says : 

"That  any  provision  which  may  be  adopted  by 
such  State  government,  in  relation  to  the  freed 
people  of  such  State  which  shall  recognize  and 
declare  their  permanent  freedom,  provide  for 
their  education,  and  which  may  yet  be  consistent 
as  a  temporary  arrangement  with  their  present 
condition  as  a  laboring,  landless  and  homeless 
class,  will  not  be  objected  to  by  the  National  Ex- 

But  unfortunately  for  both  races  in  the  South, 
Lincoln  was  assassinated. 



BEGINNING  in  1885,  The  Chicago  Daily  Trib- 
une 1  has  kept  a  record  of  lynchings  to  the  present 
time.  Although  statistics  are  to  many  very  dry 
reading,  nevertheless,  to  others,  who  are  more  im- 
pressed by  facts  than  fancy,  they  are  of  the  most 
intense  interest.  However  that  may  be,  here  they 

1  Lynchings  in  the  country  for  the  past  thirty-two  years  ac- 
cording to  The  Chicago  Daily  Tribune,  Dec.  30,  1916: 

1885  184  1901  130 

1886  138  1902  96 

1887  122  1903  104 

1888  142  1904  87 

1889  176  1905  60 

1890  127  1906  60 

1891  191  1907  65 

1892  205  1908  100 

1893  2OO  1909  87 

1894  190  1910  74 

1895  171  1911  71 

1896  131  1912  64 

1897  106  1913  48 

1898  127  1914  54 

1899  107  1915  98 

1900  115  1916  58 



appear  to  be  indispensable  to  any  satisfactory  con- 
sideration of  the  subject. 

The  following  statistics  which  are  based  upon 
the  records  of  The  Chicago  Daily  Tribune  are 
compiled  by  periods:  excepting  the  last  which  is 
for  four  years,  these  periods  were  taken  almost  in- 
discriminately for  two  years  together,  beginning 
with  1885  and  1886: 

AND   1886 

In  the  United  States  there  were  314:  159 
whites,  149  Negroes,  and  6  Chinamen;  62  in  the 
North,  252  in  the  South.  Of  those  lynched  in 
the  South,  144  were  Negroes;  nearly  all  the 
whites  were  lynched  in  the  Southwest  for  horse- 
stealing  and  murder;  the  Negroes  were  lynched 
for  the  following  causes:  51,  rape;  65,  murder; 
12,  incendiarism;  6,  arson;  3,  cattle  and  horse- 
stealing;  i,  self-defense;  I,  robbery;  I,  threat  of 
political  exposures;  i,  assault;  2  cutting  levees; 
i,  cause  not  mentioned.  There  were  also  191  legal 
executions  in  the  country;  72  Negroes  in  the  South, 
63  for  murder  and  9  for  rape. 

YEARS    1892   AND   1893 

The  whole  number  for  the  country  was  436: 
309  Negroes,  no  whites,  5  Mexicans,  and  8  In- 
dians. 53  lynchings  in  the  North.  287  Negroes 
in  the  South:  74,  rape;  18,  attempted  rape;  5,  al- 
leged rape;  i,  attempted  rape — total,  88  for  rape. 
99,  murder.  Nearly  all  the  remainder  for  mur- 
derous assault,  alleged  or  complicity  in  murder, 
arson,  etc.  231  legal  executions.  127  of  these 
were  Negroes  in  the  South:  1 18,  murder;  6,  rape; 
3,  arson.  In  the  North,  9  Negroes  were  legally 
executed  for  murder. 

AND  1902 

Lynchings  for  the  country,  231.  29,  North; 
202,  South.  194  Negroes;  35  whites;  2  Indians; 
i  Chinaman.  185  Negroes  lynched  in  the  South: 
40,  rape;  19,  attempted  rape — total,  59  for  rape; 
63,  murder;  7,  murderous  assault;  4,  complicity 
in  murder;  3,  suspected  murder;  3,  implicated  in 
murder;  2,  sheltering  murderers;  i,  attempted 
murder;  6,  theft;  5,  Negroes'  quarrel  of  profit 
sharing;  4,  race  prejudice;  i,  making  threats;  i, 
lawlessness;  i,  mistaken  identity;  remainder, 


causes  not  given.  In  the  North,  9  Negroes  were 
lynched,  5  for  rape  and  4  for  murder.  There 
were  262  legal  executions,  of  which  162  were  Ne- 
groes. Execution  of  Negroes  in  South:  128, 
murder;  14,  rape;  4,  attempted  rape.  In  the 
North,  1 6  Negroes  were  executed  for  murder, 
nearly  all  in  Pennsylvania. 

AND   1907 

For  the  United  States,  132.  3,  North;  129, 
South.  Negroes  lynched  in  the  South,  129:  27, 
rape;  25,  attempted  rape;  2  rape  and  murder;  I, 
suspected  rape — total,  55  for  rape;  2  32,  murder; 
13,  murderous  assault;  5,  race  riot;  remainder, 
minor  causes.  There  were  also  189  legal  execu- 
tions. Of  these  115  were  Negroes  in  the  South, — 
15  for  rape  and  100  for  murder. 


During  these  four  years  there  were  235  lynch- 
ings  in  the  United  States.  1 1,  North;  224,  South. 

2  It  seems  fair  to  count  rape,  alleged  rape,  attempted  rape,  and 
so  on, — all  as  rape;  for  it  often  happens  that  a  Negro  commits 
rape  and  escapes  entirely.  As  an  example,  see  account  of  the 
lynching  of  Ed.  Berry  (Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  27,  1915).  Berry 
confessed  to  twelve  cases  of  criminal  assault,  each  victim  being 
a  white  woman. 


In  the  North,  5  Negroes  and  6  whites  were 
lynched;  in  the  South,  215  Negroes,  8  whites,  and 
i  Mexican.  The  causes  for  the  lynching  of  Ne- 
groes in  the  South  were  as  follows:  33,  rape;  8, 
attempted  rape;  2,  alleged  rape, — total,  43  for 
rape;  117,  murder;  14,  murderous  assault;  3, 
complicity  in  murder;  I,  suspicion  of  murder;  i, 
alleged  murder;  5,  arson;  5,  race  prejudice;  8, 
insulting  white  women ;  1 1 ,  by  night  riders  in  Ken- 
tucky; i,  refusal  to  pay  note;  i,  race  troubles;  i, 
threat  to  kill;  i,  assault  and  robbery;  i,  horse- 
stealing;  i,  annoying  white  women.;  remainder, 
cause  not  given.  The  number  of  legal  executions 
in  the  whole  country  for  the  four  years,  were  381. 
Of  these  136  were  Negroes,  1 12  in  the  South,  and 
24  for  murder  in  the  North.  In  the  South:  93, 
murder;  10,  rape;  2,  attempted  rape;  i,  burglary; 
4,  cause  not  given. 

Now,  adverting  to  the  statistics  for  1873-5, — 
not  far  removed  from  the  beginning  of  the  Negro- 
lynching  disorder, — it  is  found  that  of  the  44  Ne- 
groes lynched  in  the  South  during  the  three  years, 
30,  or  70 —  per  cent,  were  lynched  for  rape;  while 
but  14,  or  30+  per  cent,  were  lynched  for  all 
other  causes  combined.  Thus  it  is  seen  that  at 
this  time  rape  was  practically  the  only  cause  for 
the  lynching  of  Negroes  in  the  South. 


Moreover,  it  is  quite  evident  from  the  statistics 
above  given,  beginning  with  1885,  that  rape  has 
continued  to  be,  if  not  the  whole  cause  for  the 
lynching  of  Negroes  in  the  South,  anyhow  almost 
that,  with  other  crimes  as  merely  incidental: 

The  three  pairs  of  years, — 1885-6,  1901-2,  and 
1906-7, — show  165  Negroes  lynched  in  the 
South  for  rape,  160  for  murder,  and  127  for  all 
other  causes.  Here  rape  takes  the  lead.  Adding 
to  these  figures  the  statistics  for  1892-3,  the  num- 
bers for  the  four  pairs  of  year  are:  259,  murder; 
253,  rape;  and  227,  minor  causes.  Again,  adding 
for  the  four  years  1911-14,  the  result  for  the 
twelve  years,  is:  376,  or  39+  per  cent,  mur- 
der; 296,  or  31+  per  cent,  rape;  and  282,  or 
29+  per  cent,  minor  causes.  This  would  seem  to 
indicate  that  rape  was  not  even  the  leading  cause. 

However,  according  to  the  statistics  for  the 
twelve  years  under  consideration,  502,  or  57+  per 
cent  of  the  Negroes  in  the  South  who  committed 
murder  during  these  years  were  legally  executed, 
and  but  376,  or  43—  per  cent  were  lynched; 
while  for  rape,  only  60,  or  16+  per  cent  were 
legally  executed,  and  296,  or  84—  per  cent  were 
lynched.8  The  proportion  may  be  stated  thus: 

'This  argument  assumes,  of  course,  that  all  Negroes  who 
murdered  whites  in  the  South  were  either  lynched  or  legally  exe- 
cuted, and  that  all  Negroes  caught  who  committed  rape  against 
white  women  were  likewise  dealt  with.  It  seems  to  be  about 
as  fair  in  one  case  as  the  other  to  assume  this. 


57  *43  :  :i6 :84=7+.  This  shows  that  a  Negro  is 
more  than  seven  times  as  liable  to  be  lynched  in 
the  South  for  rape  than  even  for  murder. 

Indeed,  the  belief  of  the  average  white  man 
of  the  South  that  lynching  is  the  most  effective  way 
of  dealing  with  the  Negro  for  his  crime  against 
white  women  also  seems  to  be  borne  out  by  the 
statistics:  In  1892-3,  88  Negroes  were  lynched 
for  rape;  in  1901-2,  59;  while  for  the  four  years 
1911-14,  only  43.  That  this  great  reduction  in 
rape  cases  and  lynchings  was  not  due  to  legal  ex- 
ecutions is  shown  by  the  fact  that  during  the  same 
time  but  36  Negroes  were  legally  executed,  only 
12  of  these  being  for  the  four  years  1911-14. 
Thus  as  a  consequence  of  a  reduction  in  the  crime 
of  rape  by  Negroes  is  noted  a  great  reduction  in 
the  lynching  of  Negroes, — from  287  in  1892-3; 
185,  1901-2;  129,  1906-7;  to  91  for  1913-14. 

However,  during  1915  and  1916,  104  Negroes 
were  lynched  in  the  South  as  compared  with  91 
for  1913  and  1914.  The  increased  number 
lynched  for  rape  is  very  marked:  being  only  13 
for  1913  and  1914,  but  twice  the  number,  or  26, 
for  1915  and  1916.  During  the  former  two 
years,  also,  6  Negroes  were  legally  hanged  for 
rape  as  compared  to  12  for  the  latter.  The  pro- 
portion remains  the  same:  thus  during  1913  and 


1914,  19  Negroes  in  the  South  were  put  to  death 
for  rape  as  compared  with  38  for  1915  and  1916. 

Although  the  legal  execution  of  12  Negroes  in 
the  South  for  rape  during  1915  and  1916  may 
show  a  tendency  to  allow  the  law  to  take  its 
course  in  such  cases,  may  not  the  above  statistics 
also  indicate  that  when  for  a  few  years  but  few 
lynchings  occurred,  especially  for  the  crime  of 
rape,  that  the  effect  of  such  immediate  and  fearful 
punishment — consisting  of  burning  as  it  sometimes 
does — gradually  fades  from  the  mind  of  the 
Negro  inclined  to  such  crime,  with  a  great  in- 
crease of  rape  as  a  consequence? 

Again,  in  extenuation  of  lynching,  it  is  im- 
portant to  observe,  that,  as  a  result  of  most  crimes 
against  the  body,  such  as  murder,  but  little,  if 
any,  humiliation  attaches.  But  it  is  quite  differ-^- 
ent  in  rape  cases.  Not  only  is  there  often  great 
physical  injury,  but  also  an  unutterable  humilia- 
tion. Our  civilization  teaches  that  one  should  \ 
hold  certain  personal  rights  and  considerations 
even  more  dear  than  life  itself.  To  have  in  mind 
such  ideas  and  live  up  to  them  measures  our 
reach  above  lower  peoples.  That  this  feeling  or 
spirit  should  be  encouraged,  rather  than  risk  its 
check,  is  not  to  be  questioned.  Therefore,  the 
average  Southern  white  man  does  not  believe  that 
the  innocent  rape  victim  of  a  Negro  should  be 


U.       obliged  to  endure   further  humiliation  incident 
upon  her  appearance  in  a  court  of  law. 

In  this  connection,  a  set  of  resolutions  published 
by  those  who  lynched  a  Negro  at  Annapolis,  Md., 
in  1875,  are  interesting.  These  resolutions,  which 
set  forth  the  causes  of  the  act,  were  drawn  up 
before  the  lynching  took  place  and  show  serious 
consideration.  I  quote:4 

"Fellow  Citizens:  In  view  of  the  fact  that 
we  are  about  to  take  into  our  hands  the  sword  of 
justice  to  do  to  death  one  who  is  now  incarcerated 
in  our  county  jail,  it  is  meet  that  we  should  give 
.V  some  reason  for  the  purpose  we  hope  to  consum- 
mate. First,  then:  While  we  can  but  honor  the 
deep  feeling  of  interest  manifested  by  those  who 
are  the  proper  guardians  of  our  lives,  our  prop- 
erty, and  our  honor;  and  while  we,  as  true  and 
loyal  citizens  of  the  State  of  Maryland,  and  of 
Anne  Arundel  County,  do  bend  to  the  supreme 
majesty  of  the  law  and  acknowledge  trials  by  jury 
as  the  very  arch-stone  in  the  grand  edifice  of  hu- 
man rights,  still  we  know  the  vilest  criminal  is  ac- 
corded the  same  rights  under  the  law  that  belong 
to  the  petty  thief,  nor  can  this  devil  incarnate, 
should  he  claim  his  rights,  be  denied  the  privilege 
of  a  change  of  venue,  such  a  circumstance  might 

*  Baltimore  American,  June  15,  1875. 


probably  rob  the  gallows  of  its  due  and  foil  the  * 
aims  of  the  law.     Before  God  we  believe  in  the 
existence  of  a  higher  code  than  that  which  is  digni- 
fied by  the  great  seal  of  a  Commonwealth  and  that 
the  high  and  holy  time  to  exercise  it  is  when  the 
chastity  of  our  women  is  tarnished  by  the  foul 
breath  of  an  imp  from  hell  and  the  sanctity  of  our     I 
homes  invaded  by  a  demon. 

"Secondly,  admitting  that  in  the  event  of  a 
trial  by  a  jury  he  shall  be  hanged — a  highly  prob- 
able result — yet  would  his  execution  be  as  illegal 
as  though  done  by  a  band  of  wronged  citizens; 
for  must  not  a  juror  be  a  peer,  and  with  a  mind, 
free  of  bias,  and  where  can  a  man  be  found  com- 
petent to  try  this  case?  Who  can  be  found  of 
his  level,  and  who  that  has  heard  has  not  already 
convicted  him  in  his  mind?  At  best,  that  which 
would  be  done  under  the  semblance  of  law  would 
be  a  more  sham  by  force  of  all  the  circumstances 
connected  with  this  horrible  deed,  and  if  under  the 
law  the  penalty  is  death,  and  we  know  the  deed 
was  committed  by  him — we  claim  that  there  is  n5  • 
moral  difference  in  the  means  of  destroying  him, 
and  we  act  upon  this  conviction. 

"Thirdly,  we  are  not  willing  that  the  victim 
shall  be  dragged  into  court  to  tell  over  and  over 
again  the  story  of  her  terrible  wrongs,  or  that 
her  name  shall  be  entered  upon  the  records  of 


our  criminal  jurisprudence  for  future  reference." 
Further  comment  on  this  lynching  is  unnec- 
essary— unless  indirectly:  the  Negro,  child  of 
Africa,  but  lately  removed  from  the  jungle,  be- 
cause of  the  necessity  of  the  habitat  of  his  origin, 
has  had  developed  in  him  by  nature,  possibly, 
stronger  sexual  passion  than  is  to  be  found  in  any 

\other  race.5  But  he  is  infinitely  lacking  in  the 
high  mental,  moral,  and  emotional  qualities  that 
are  especially  characteristic  of  the  Anglo-Saxon, 
and  it  is  a  grievous  mistake  to  attribute  such  high 
qualities  to  him.  When  proper  restraint  is  re- 
moved from  the  Negro  he  gets  beyond  bounds. 
The  Anglo-Saxon,  indeed,  or  members  of  that 
race,  has  a  way  of  meeting  extraordinary  condi- 
tions with  extraordinary  means — hence  lynching  in 
* order  to  hold  in  check  the  Negro  in  the  South. 

Indeed,  a  country  occupied  by  two  races  so 
widely  apart  in  origin,  characteristics,  and  devel- 
opment as  the  whites  and  the  Negroes  of  the 
Southern  States — one  race  of  the  highest  mental 
endowments  and  culture,  the  other  of  the  lowest — 
one  having  a  civilization  that  reaches  back  hun- 
dreds, if  not  thousands,  of  years,  the  other  in 
the  early  dawn  of  civilization — might  reasonably 
have  two  codes  of  law  suited,  as  nearly  as  pos- 
sible, to  each  race,  respectively. 

"To  make  up  for  the  high  death  rate. 


A  mode  of  punishment  that  would  be  out  of 
place  as  to  the  white  man  may  be  well  suited  to 
the  Negro.  Small-pox  is  not  to  be  treated  as 
chicken-pox.  Barbarous  criminals  require  bar-, 
barous  laws.  The  innocent  and  law-abiding  cit- 
izens of  a  State  have  rights  as  well  as  the  crim- 
inals— at  least,  the  right  to  protection  from  the 
criminals.  But  let  some  crafty  scoundrel  finally 
get  in  jail,  and  he  will  be  flooded  with  letters  of 
consolation  and  sympathy  from  sentimental 
women  and  soft-headed  men.6  And  let  some 
Negro  brute,  guilty  of  rape,  suffer  the  punishment 
he  so  richly  deserved  at  the  hands  of  an  outraged 
community,  and  one  would  think,  if  he  considered 
the  bitter  censure  from  distant  quarters,  that  the 
foundations  of  the  government  were  being  under- 
mined, or  that  a  poor  lamb  was  set  upon  by  a 
pack  of  howling  wolves,  thirsting  for  its  blood, 
but  not  a  word  of  commiseration  for  the  family, 
or  the  victim,  of  the  fiendish  Negro's  unbridled 

Moreover,  instead  of  a  Negro's  being  over- 
awed by  the  solemn  deliberations  of  a  court, 
rather,  as  he  is  the  center  of  interest,  he  all  but 

•Joliet,  111.,  Sept.  10  (1917),  Riot  in  Staff  Prison.  Rioters 
numbered  about  fifty.  Had  become  angered  at  impositions  of 
restrictions.  "Among  the  privileges  previously  enjoyed  by  the 
convicts  was  an  almost  unlimited  correspondence  with  senti- 
mental women." — Washington  (D.  C.)  Star,  Sept.  10,  1917. 


enjoys  it.  For  once  in  his  life  he  finds  himself 
in  a  position  of  prominence.  It  would  be  contrary 
to  the  Negro  nature  if  he  were  not  somewhat 
elated  at  being  the  object  of  so  much  attention. 
Even  were  this  not  the  case,  he  has  no  such  ap- 
preciation of  his  degradation  as  the  white  man 
feels  under  similar  circumstances.  Indeed,  it 
would  sometimes  appear  as  almost  a  triumphal 
procession  for  him  from  the  time  he  gets  in  jail 
until  he  reaches  the  gallows.  The  two  quotations 
below  may  help  to  justify  this  idea : 

"Joe  Clark,  colored,  .  .  .  was  hanged 
at  this  place  on  Friday  forenoon,  in  the  presence 
of  about  3,000  persons,  mostly  Negroes.  Clark 
spoke  about  fifteen  minutes,  giving  a  detailed  ac- 
count of  the  murder  and  fully  confessing  the 
crime.  He  advised  all  present  to  live  an  upright 
life.  .  .  .  After  he  had  shaken  hands  with 
his  friends  the  trap  was  sprung,  and  thus  the  sen- 
tence of  the  court  was  duly  executed.  Clark's 
last  request  was  that  the  black  cap  be  kept  of,  so 
that  all  might  see  how  easy  he  could  meet  death"'1 

The  second  one  is  taken  from  accounts  of  the 
execution  at  Denton,  Md.,  of  "Wish"  Shepperd, 
colored,  for  the  outrage  of  a  fifteen-year-old  white 

'  Taken  from  Richmond  Enquirer,  May  4,  1775. 
*  Baltimore  Sun,  August  27-28,  1915. 


"He  told  his  spiritual  advisers  that  he  had  a 
message  for  the  public:  'Tell  all  the  young  men 
to  avoid  the  fate  that  awaits  me  by  joining  the 
church  and  attending  its  services.'  [Evidently 
inspired  by  his  preacher  advisers]  .  .  . 
He  slumbered  soundly,  the  guards  noticed,  and 
awoke  early  this  morning  apparently  indifferent 
to  his  doom.  .  .  .  With  a  firm  step  he 
accompanied  the  officers  and  his  spiritual  advisers 
to  the  scaffold  which  was  erected  near  the  Chop- 
tank  River.  Passing  undismayed  through  the 
throng  which  had  gathered  along  the  way  from 
the  prison  to  the  gallows.  His  gaze  passed  fear- 
lessly around  surveying  the  people."  .  .  . 

Again,  in  connection  with  the  lynching  of 
Negroes  in  the  South,  one  must  not  lose  sight 
of  the  conditions  that  are  peculiar  to  that  section. 
The  greater  the  number  of  Negroes  in  propor- 
tion to  the  whites  in  any  State  or  community  the 
easier  it  is  for  the  Negro  to  commit  crime  and 
escape.  And  the  Negro  criminal  does  often  es- 
cape. Seldom  is  it  found  that  the  Negro  will 
aid  in  the  detection  of  the  Negro  criminal,  rather 
otherwise.  Even  the  hope  of  escape  is  a  won- 
derful encouragement  to  the  criminally  inclined. 

Now,  before  the  War,  as  is  well  known,  the 
South  was  almost  entirely  an  agricultural  section. 


It  had  but  few  cities  and  these  were  small.  In  the 
last  thirty  or  forty  years,  however,  it  has  been 
rapidly  developing  manufacturing  industries. 
Some  of  the  cities  have  become  great  industrial 

Nor  is  manufacturing  confined  at  all  to  the 
large  cities.  Indeed,  almost  every  town  in  some 
parts  has  a  cotton  mill  or  other  establishment.  As 
illustrations,  I  may  mention  Hickory,  N.  C.,  and 
La  Grange,  Ga.  Hickory,  with  a  population  of 
about  5,000,  has  two  large  cotton  mills;  the  Pied- 
mont Wagon  Shops,  which  employs  hundreds  of 
men;  several  furniture  factories,  saw  mills,  and 
other  industrial  interests.  La  Grange,  a  city  ol 
about  6,000,  has  ten  cotton  mills,  one  of  which  is 
valued  at  $1,000,000,  and  four  of  the  others  at 
$500,000,  each.  In  the  manufacture  of  cotton 
alone  the  South  has  increased  from  316,000  bales 
in  1885  to  3,193,000  bales  in  1915. 

As  a  consequence  the  white  people  have  largely 
been  drawn  to  the  towns  and  cities :  the  wealthier 
own  and  control  the  various  business  interests 
while  the  poorer  ones  contribute  their  help  or  la- 
bor. Few  Negroes  work  in  the  factories,  for  the 
Negro  seems  to  lack  the  qualities  necessary:  name- 
ly, punctuality,  dependability,  and  a  certain  amount 
of  mental  alertness.  So,  in  some  parts  of  the 
South  the  whites  are  nearly  all  living  in  the  towns 


and  cities,  while  the  country  districts  are  filled  with 
Negroes.  However,  even  in  such  places  there  are 
some  whites  in  the  country,  and  as  is  evident,  in 
additional  danger. 

Moreover,  the  population  of  several  Southern 
States  is  nearly  half  Negro,  while  in  two, — South 
Carolina  and  Mississippi, — it  is  even  more  than 
half  Negro,  being  55+  per  cent  and  56+  per 
cent,  respectively.  Indeed,  in  53  counties  of  the 
South  the  Negro  population  of  each  exceeds  75 
per  cent.  In  Tensas  Parish,  La.,  and  Isoquena 
County,  Miss.,  the  Negro  population  is  91.5  per 
cent  and  94.2  per  cent,  respectively.  That  is,  in 
every  1,000  persons  one  meets  in  Isoquena  County, 
Miss.,  942  are  Negroes  and  but  58,  white.  Such 
conditions  should  be  readily  appreciated.  Is  it 
any  wonder  that  the  white  man  thinks  it  necessary 
to  strike  terror  into  the  soul  of  the  possible  or 
incipient  Negro  criminal  by  any  method  that  may 
cause  him  to  stand  in  fear  of  an  immediate  and 
dreadful  death? 

Further,  the  origin  of  a  great  part  of  these  Ne- 
groes, especially  those  of  the  farther  South,  is, 
also,  worthy  of  consideration. 

During  the  operation  of  the  internal  slave  trade, 
it  was  usually  the  most  undesirable,  unruly,  and 
the  criminally  inclined  Negroes  of  the  border 
slave  States  that  were  sold  to  the  States  of  the 


farther  South ;  nor  should  it  be  forgotten  that  be- 
tween 1808  and  1860  the  farther  South  received 
around  270,000  Negroes  from  outside  the  United 
States.9  It  seems  likely  that  the  greater  part  of 
these  were  barbarous  Negroes,  directly  from 
Africa.  It  was  these  criminal  and  barbarous  Ne- 
groes, along  with  their  children  and  grand-chil- 
dren, who  by  the  fortune  of  war,  without  home  or 
master,  were  turned  loose  on  the  South. 

Thus  it  is  that  the  white  woman  is  obliged  to 
be  constantly  on  her  guard  against  the  Negro, — 
otherwise  rape  cases  would  be  multiplied.10  An 
idea  of  the  necessity  of  this  and  the  hardship  of 
it  may  be  had  from  the  following  quotation : 

"In  a  population  about  evenly  divided  in  North 
Carolina  was  a  family  of  unpretending  intelligent 

"There  was  a  school  house  only  a  mile  and  a 
half  away,  but  they  could  not  let  their  two  daugh- 
ters go  to  it.  They  could  not  let  them  stir  away 
from  home  unprotected.  They  had  to  pay  for 
their  education  at  home,  while  at  the  same  time 
they  were  being  taxed  for  the  education  of  the  Ne- 
gro children  of  the  district. 

'  W.  H.  Collins,  "The  Domestic  Slave  Trade,"  p.  20. 

"It  is  unlikely  that  all  rape  cases  get  in  the  papers.  An  intel- 
ligent resident  of  Rapides  Parish,  La.,  told  the  writer  that  four 
cases  of  rape  occurred  in  that  parish  once  within  a  month. 


'  'Do  you  think,'  was  asked  a  leading  Negro 
educator,  'that  those  girls  could  safely  have  gone 
to  school?' 

1  'It  would  depend  upon  the  district,'  was  the 
reply.    'In  some  districts  the  girls  could  have  gone 
to  school  safely  enough;  in  others,  no.' 
"This  I  think  was  a  terrible  admission."  n 

As  the  world  is  to  be  made  safe  for  democracy,  j 
so  ought  the  South  to  be  made  free  for  white 
women.    Is  it  not  the  business  of  the  South  to  en- 
deavor to  make  the  South  safe  for  white  women   » 
by  whatever  method  appears  to  be  most  effective  ? 
The  women  of  the  South  should  be  just  as  free 
to  go  when,  where,  and  as  they  please  as  women 
in  other  sections  of  the  country  and  not  be,  as  has 
been  so  aptly  put  by  John  Temple  Graves,  "pris- 
oners to  danger  and  fear": 

"In  a  land  of  light  and  liberty,  in  an  age  of  en- 
lightenment and  law,  the  women  of  the  South  are 
prisoners  to  danger  and  fear.  While  your  women 
may  walk  from  suburb  to  suburb,  and  from  town- 
ship to  township,  without  escort  and  without 
alarm,  there  is  not  a  woman  of  the  South,  wife 
or  daughter,  who  would  be  permitted  or  who 
would  dare  to  walk  at  twilight  unguarded  through 

"William  Archer,  "Through  Afro  America,"  London,  1910, 
p.  22. 


the  resident  streets  of  a  populous  town,  or  to  ride 
the  outside  highways  at  midday. 

"The  terror  of  the  twilight  deepens  with  the 
darkness,  and  in  the  rural  regions  every  farmer 
leaves  his  home  with  apprehension  in  the  morning, 
and  thanks  God  when  he  comes  from  the  fields 
at  evening  to  find  all  well  with  the  women  of  his 
home."  12 

A  few  words  now  as  to  the  minor  causes  of 
lynching.  In  reading  the  annual  summary  of 
lynchings  given  by  the  Chicago  Tribune,  one  may 
get  the  impression  that  Negroes  are  often  lynched 
for  very  trifling  things.  Investigation,  however, 
is  apt  to  show  that  back  of  any  such  lynching  was 
something  much  more  serious  than  what  appears 
on  the  face.  Many  illustrations  might  be  given 
but  one  may  suffice:  thirteen  Negroes  lynched  in 
Arkansas,  March  26,  1904,  cause,  race  preju- 
dice.13 The  following  account  of  this  affair  is 
abbreviated  from  an  Arkansas  paper:14 

"Dewitt  (Ark.),  March  25. — Five  Negroes 
who  had  been  arrested  as  a  result  of  the  race 
troubles  at  St.  Charles,  were  taken  from  the 

"Address:  John  Temple  Graves,  New  York  Times,  Sept.  4, 

"The  Chicago  Daily  Tribune,  Dec.  31,  1904. 

14  Arkansas  Gazette  (Little  Rock),  March  26,  1904.  See  also 
Daily  Arkansas  Democrat,  March  29,  1904. 


guards  by  a  crowd  of  men  last  night  and  shot  to 
death.  .  .  .  The  five  victims  make  nine  Negroes 
that  have  been  killed  within  the  past  week  in  the 
vicinity  of  St.  Charles.  .  .  . 

"A  few  days  ago  a  difficulty  occurred  over  a 
trivial  matter  at  St.  Charles  between  a  white  man 
by  the  name  of  Searcy  and  two  Negroes  by  the 
names  of  Henry  and  Walker  Griffin.  One  of  the 
Negroes  threatened  to  knock  Searcy  in  the  head 
with  a  beer  bottle.  The  trouble  was  stopped  for 
the  time  being,  but  on  Monday  last  the  two  Ne- 
groes met  Searcy  and  his  brother  in  the  store  of 
Woolfords  and  Marsworthy  in  St.  Charles,  and 
the  difficulty  was  renewed.  One  of  the  Negroes 
without  warning,  struck  both  of  the  Searcy  boys 
over  the  head  with  a  table  leg,  rendering  them 
unconscious  and  fracturing  their  skulls,  one  of 
them  to  such  an  extent  that  he  may  die.  The 
Deputy  Sheriff,  .  .  .  James  Kirkpatrick,  at- 
tempted to  arrest  the  Negroes  and  he,  too,  was 
knocked  down. 

"The  Negroes  then  gathered  and  defied  the  of- 
ficers, declaring  that  'No  white  man  could  arrest 
them.'  Their  demonstrations  aroused  the  fear  of 
the  citizens  of  St.  Charles  and  they  phoned  to  this 
place  for  a  posse  to  come  out  and  protect  the 
town.  P.  A.  Douglass,  deputy  sheriff,  went  out 
with  five  men,  Wednesday  morning.  Constable 


L.  C.  Neely  went  forward  with  a  posse  of  several 
men  to  capture  the  Griffin  Negroes.  The  con- 
stable met  three  Negroes  ...  in  the  road.  He 
inquired  of  them  if  they  knew  where  the  Griffins 
were  and  one  of  them  replied  that  they  did,  but 

'would  tell  no white '  the  Negroes  then 

attempted  to  draw  their  pistols,  but  the  posse  fired, 
killing  all  three  of  them. 

"Yesterday  sixteen  men  left  this  place  for  the 
scene  of  the  trouble.  .  .  .  Large  crowds  in  from 
Roc,  Ethel,  and  Clarenden.  During  the  day  while 
the  Sheriff's  posse  was  searching  for  the  Griffin 
Negroes,  they  were  fired  upon  by  a  Negro  .  .  . 
from  ambush.  Three  of  the  posse  were  hit,  but 
the  shot  used  were  small,  and  no  serious  damage 
resulted.  The  posse  returned  the  fire,  and  a  shot 
.  .  .  felled  the  Negro  to  the  ground.  Several 
other  shots  were  fired  into  him,  killing  him  in- 

"Five  other  Negroes  .  .  .  who  were  the  Ne- 
groes that  had  defied  the  officers,  were  arrested, 
and  last  night  a  crowd  of  men  took  them  away 
from  the  guards  and  shot  them  to  death."  The 
next  issue  of  the  same  paper  stated  that  two  more 
Negroes  had  been  killed,  and  the  Daily  Arkansas 
Democrat,  March  29,  reported  that  the  Griffins 
who  were  the  cause  of  the  original  trouble  had 
been  killed,  completing  the  list  of  thirteen. 


The  above  quotation  is  given  merely  as  an  ex- 
ample of  a  state  of  affairs  so  apt  to  exist  in  con- 
nection with  what  usually  passes  as  trivial  causes 
for  lynching.     May  those  at  a  distance  from  such"!  ^, 
conditions  the  better  understand! 

Thus  far  I  have  not  discussed  lynching  in  the 
North,  nor  do  I  purpose  to  do  so ;  but  a  few  words 
in  passing  seem  pertinent.  There  is  no  basis  for 
the  assumption,  which  some  seem  innocently  to 
hold,  that  the  people  of  the  North  are  inherently 
good  and  law-abiding,  while  those  of  the  South 
are  inherently  wicked  and  lawless.  Indeed,  sta- 
tistics would  seem  to  indicate  the  opposite.15  In 
1910  over  750  persons  to  the  100,000  popula- 
tion were  committed  to  prison  in  New  England  as 
against  less  than  450  in  the  South.  I  take  it  that 
the  people  of  the  North  are  neither  better  nor 
worse  than  those  of  the  South.  The  same  condi- 
tions in  either  section  would  produce  about  the 
same  results.  The  statistics  of  lynching  I  gathered 
for  the  North  were  merely  incidental.  However, 
for  1901  and  1902,  I  find  that  nine  Negroes  were 
lynched  in  the  North,  four  for  murder  and  five 
for  rape. 

Further  evidence  that  the  people  of  the  North 
will  engage  in  lynching  when  necessity  dictates 
may  be  had  from  the  early  history  of  California. 

"Statistical  Abstract  of  the  U.  S.,  1915,  p.  55. 


Vigilance  committees  for  the  protection  of  the 
better  class  of  citizens  against  the  disorderly  and 
criminal  elements,  were  organized  without  war- 
rant of  law.  In  writing  of  one  of  these  commit- 
tees H.  H.  Bancroft  says  that  it  was  well  repre- 
sented by  men  of  wealth,  intelligence  and  indus- 
try, and  that  "the  largest  element  comprised  men 
from  the  Northeastern  part  of  the  United 
States."  16 

Of  remedies  for  lynching  I  have  none.  Of  pro- 
posed remedies,  I  have  only  to  say  that  those 
which  seem  in  any  way  practicable  might  result  in 
unmerited  hardship  to  whites  and  an  increase  in 
rape  cases  as  well.  Any  hope  of  escape  or  miti- 
gation of  punishment  that  even  unintentionally 
may  be  held  out  to  the  criminal  serves  as  a  won- 
derful stimulant  to  crime.  The  positive  knowl- 
edge on  the  part  of  those  criminally  inclined  that 
punishment  will  be  immediate,  sure,  and  adequate, 
is  the  best  deterrent.  The  Negro  is  a  creature 
that  lives  in  the  present  and  even  postponement  of 
punishment  robs  it  of  much  of  its  force.  The  law 
sanctions  personal  self-defense.  The  white  man 
in  lynching  a  Negro  does  it  as  an  indirect  act  of 
self-defense  against  the  Negro  criminal  as  a  race. 

When  the  abnormally  criminal  Negro  race 
(partly  so,  no  doubt,  because  he  is  not  yet  ad- 

19  H.  H.  Bancroft,  "Popular  Tribunals,"  Vol.  II,  pp.  666-7. 


justed  to  his  environment)  puts  himself  in  har- 
mony with  our  civilization,  if  ever,  through  as- 
similating our  culture  and  making  our  ideals  its 
own,  then  may  it  be  hoped  that  his  crimes  will  be 
reduced  to  normal  and  lynching  will  cease,  the 
cause  being  removed. 



THE  present  criminal  status  of  the  Negro, — 
and  his  criminal  record  since  the  Civil  War  as 
well, — should  cause  every  member  of  the  race  in 
America  to  hang  his  head  in  shame. 

Yet,  may  it  not  be  that,  after  all,  the  Negro  is, 
to  a  large  extent,  an  irresponsible  creature  of  cir- 
cumstances, and  that  his  crimes  are  upon  the  heads 
of  those  who  unwisely  placed  him  in  a  position 
that  he  was  unable  to  occupy, — except  with  in- 
jury to  all  concerned? 

Scholars  hold  that  the  average  citizen  of  the 
ancient  Athenian  Democracy,  the  greatest  of  an- 
cient democracies,  was  as  intelligent  as  the  aver- 
age member  of  the  British  Parliament,  or  of  the 
American  Congress.  The  Negro,  however,  with 
all  his  barbarism  and  ignorance,  totally  unrelated 
to  the  white  man  in  origin,  character,  and  race, 
directly  after  his  emancipation,  was  made  a  full- 
fledged  citizen  in  the  greatest  of  modern  democ- 
racies. The  fact  is  appalling. 



Stupidity  unsurpassed,  unless  by  the  pacifist 
visionaries  of  the  present  day  who  seek  to  usher  in 
the  millennium  by  proclamation, — peace  treaties, 
world  federations,  or  leagues  to  enforce  peace. 
Human  nature  cannot  be  changed  overnight  by 
edict.  When  the  sun  fails  to  rise  wars  will  cease. 
It  is  to  be  hoped  that  enough  sanity  yet  remains 
in  the  American  people  to  save  them  from  such 
nonsensical  vagaries  of  sentimental  dreamers. 

But  the  Negro,  son  of  a  wild  and  tropical  race, 
content  for  thousands  of  years  to  roam  the  jungles 
of  Africa,  supplied  by  bountiful  nature  with  all 
his  heart's  desire,  failing  thus  to  develop  any  con- 
trolling trait  of  character,  or  mental  stamina,  and 
although  civilizations  rose  and  fell  beside  him,  it 
meant  nothing  to  him.  And  even  now  in  the  midst 
of  American  civilization  he  is  moved  to  action, 
mainly,  by  the  gusts  of  primitive  emotion  and 
passion.  This  is  the  creature  that  was  expected  to 
take  an  equal  share  in  the  government  of  the  most 
enlightened  and  progressive  people  that  the  world 
has  ever  known. 

"Who  sows  to  the  wind  shall  reap  the  whirl- 
wind." So  to-day  all  other  domestic  problems  or 
questions  pale  before — "What  shall  be  done  about 
the  Negro?  The  mob  acts  upon  it,  conventions 
of  learned  sociologists  discuss  it.  Every  superficial 
thinker  has  a  solution  of  the  problem, — ready 


made,  but  never  in  good  working  order.  The  Ne- 
gro is  such  a  problem  in  our  society  mainly,  no 
doubt,  because  he  represents  the  chief  criminal  ele- 
ment,— how  criminal,  let  statistics,  by  way  of  com- 
parison, declare: 

In  the  Northern  and  Western  States  in  1910, 
one  white  person  was  in  a  penal  institution  for 
every  982  of  the  white  population,  and  one  Negro 
for  every  123  of  the  Negro  population;  while 
in  the  South,  the  ratio  was  one  to  every  2014  for 
the  white,  and  one  Negro  to  every  308  of  the 
Negro  population.  Thus  in  the  North  Negroes 
had  eight  times  their  proportion  in  prison,  and  in 
the  South  six  and  one-half  times.  That  Negro 
crime  is  on  the  increase  is  evidenced  by  the  fact 
that  in  1 890  the  Negroes  had  hardly  six  times  their 
proportion  in  prison  in  the  North,  and  hardly  five 
times  their  share  in  the  South. 

In  this  connection  statistical  tables  should  be 
helpful  and  interesting  as  well.  Table  I  gives  a 
comparative  showing  of  whites  and  Negroes  in 
some  State  penitentiaries.  Instead  of  giving  the 
number  of  prisoners  on  hand  at  a  certain  time, 
some  prison  reports  give  the  number  received  and 
discharged  during  a  certain  period  of  time  while 
a  few  give  both.  In  Table  II  is  given  the  num- 
ber of  prisoners  received  by  the  penitentiaries  of 
a  few  States  during  a  specified  time. 




Population  in  1910 


Number  in  Penitentiary          1 

Fimes  the 
lumber  of 
fcgroes  to 
fear  1910, 
or  There- 





Negro       "5 



008,883    i 




535     ] 
1.976      \ 
3,352     J 




1,176,087    I 





1.989     ) 
3,170     J 


Mississippi..  . 


1,009,487   | 




928     | 

1,336   j 

7  + 

Maryland.  .  . 


232,250   | 




586    i 
663    } 
682    J 


Tennessee.  .  . 


473.088   I 




1.336    ] 
1.397    } 
1,208    j 




443,891    1 




«S    } 




690,049   1 
713.894   I 








1.987    l 
3,095    / 

38  1 

1.663    J 

5  + 


Kentucky  .  .  . 


361,656   | 




739    1 
736    / 


Connecticut.  . 



15,174   | 
54.030   1 
89,760   { 








%    \ 
56    J 

399    1 
269    / 

346    \ 
339    / 



New  Jersey.. 



"1,453    1 

1,631     K 




i,  no 



407    1 
417    / 

*    1 
13    J 


Vermont  .... 



Times  as 


Negroes  as 

Convicts  Received 

it  the 



Population  in  1910 

Penitentiary  During  — 




Year          White 


in  Propor- 
tion to 

of  Each 



Nov.    i,  1912  1 



442,891    • 

to           [   606 



Oct.  31,1914  J 

Alabama  .... 



[Sept.    i,  1910  ] 
to               587 



Aug.  31,  1914  J 




July    1,1908) 
to           }   217 



June  30,  1910  J 

1906             513 

306     1 

1909             560 


Missouri  .... 



1910              543 


K        11  + 

1912               660 


1914              803 

378      , 

Maryland  .  .  . 



Nov.  30,  1910  /    I29 


7  + 



[Sept.    1,1908] 
690,049    {           to           [835 
[  Oct.  31,  1910  J 



Louisiana  .... 



I9IO             1      202 

L        1915        J    257 

549      1 
654      J 


Year  Ending  \ 
Oct.  3I.I907/   4°2 

.45      ] 




14  — 

Year  Ending  \    , 
,Oct.  31,1910;   s°4 

169      . 

[Two  Years    ] 

W.  Virginia.. 


64,173    • 

Ending       \   519 
Sept.  30,  1908  J 



<  Both  Tables  I  and  II  have  reference  to  penetentiaries,  no  account  being  taken 
of  other  penal  institutions.  The  calculations  are  based  upon  the  census  of  1910  and 
penitentiary  reports  of  the  same  year,  or  thereabouts,  but  some  prison,  statistics  for 
other  years  are  also  given. 


For  the  Southern  States  considered,  Table  I 
shows  that  the  number  of  Negro  prisoners  around 
1910,  varied 'according  to  the  State  from  five  plus 
times  their  proportion  in  Louisiana  to  eleven  times 
in  Georgia.  While  in  the  North,  the  number 
varied  from  eight  times  in  Connecticut  to  seven- 
teen minus  times  in  Kansas.  Thus  showing  that 
the  Negro  is  everywhere  many  times  more  criminal 
than  the  white  man,  and  that  his  criminality  is 
more  pronounced  in  the  North  than  in  the  South. 

That  he  is  discriminated  against  by  the  court, — • 
and  otherwise, — is  sometimes  given  as  a  reason 
for  the  great  criminal  showing  of  the  Negro ;  that 
for  the  same  kind  of  crime  the  Negro  gets  a  much' 
longer  sentence  than  a  white  man,  etc.  This  is  \ 
hardly  to  be  held  as  against  the  North,  and  that  it 
is  true  to  any  appreciable  extent  in  the  South  is 
doubtful,  but  hard  to  determine, — absolutely. 

As  Table  I  gives  the  number  of  prisoners  on 
hand  at  a  certain  time  and  Table  II  the  number 
committed  to  prison  during  a  period  of  time,2 
other  things  being  equal,  it  is  clear  that  if  the 
Negro  is  discriminated  against  through  the  length 
of  sentence  imposed  on  him  by  the  court,  it  should 
be  shown  by  a  smaller  number  being  sent  to  prison 

*  Some  State  penitentiary  reports  give  the  number  of  prisoners 
on  hand  at  a  certain  time,  others  simply  those  committed  during 
a  period  of  time,  while  a  few  reports  give  both  items. 


in  proportion  to  the  respective  population  of  the 
two  races  in  any  State  than  is  to  be  found  on  hand 
at  a  certain  time.  For  instance,  at  the  Maryland 
and  the  Texan  penitentiaries,  according  to  the 
above  tables,  in  1910  the  numbers  of  Negroes  on 
hand  were,  respectively,  eight-minus  times  and 
eight-plus  times  their  proportion,  while  those  com- 
mitted for  the  same  year  were  seven-plus  and  sev- 
en, respectively.  This  would  seem  to  indicate  that 
in  neither  Maryland  nor  Texas  was  there  but  lit- 
tle, if  any  discrimination  against  the  Negro.  But 
a  comparison  of  the  statistics  for  Arkansas  and 
Louisiana  seems  to  show  that  the  Negro  is  dis- 
criminated against  in  these  States.  However, 
upon  further  investigation  it  is  found  that  ninety- 
one  Negroes  were  sent  to  the  Louisiana  peniten- 
tiary in  1911  for  murder  and  manslaughter,  and 
thirty-two  for  shooting  with  intent  to  kill,  as 
against  thirty  white  men  during  the  same  year  for 
these  crimes.  Again,  in  the  Arkansas  peniten- 
tiary in  November,  1912,  there  were  213  white 
and  643  Negro  prisoners.  Of  the  whites  but  50 
had  committed  homicide,  while  2 1 8  of  the  Negro 
prisoners  were  guilty  of  the  crime. 

Moreover,  one  might  naturally  expect  that  the 
whites,  on  account  of  greater  influence,  would  be 
much  more  likely  to  secure  pardons.  It  is  doubt- 
ful if  the  whites  are  thus  favored  to  any  large  ex- 


tent.  Between  November  I,  1910,  and  October 
31,  1912,  Arkansas  granted  pardons  to  121  whites 
and  86  Negroes,  while  during  the  year  ending  No- 
vember 30,  1911,  Kentucky  pardoned  nine  white 
men  and  eighteen  Negroes.  If  statistics  were 
available  from  all  the  States  it  might  be  rather 
conclusively  demonstrated  that  the  Negro  is  dis- 
criminated against  but  little  by  the  courts. 

In  this  connection  it  may  be  well  also  to  note 
the  fact  that  in  Ohio  fourteen-minus  times  as 
many  as  their  proportion  (according  to  Table  II) 
were  sent  to  the  penitentiary;  in  West  Virginia 
fifteen  times,  and  in  North  Dakota  forty-three 
times  their  proportion. 

A  comparison  of  the  number  of  whites  and  Ne- 
groes arrested  a  year  in  some  of  the  large  cities 
is  given  in  the  following  table : 





Population  in  1910 










Negro         in 




f   1904 


10,954  1 



5i,978    • 



11,925  \   16.5 


I   19x5 


10,954  J 

f   1905 


12^23  1 



85,008    i 



11,361  |    23  + 


I    1915 


15,840  J 




f    »9« 
1    X9IS 


38*5}    I8~ 





f    1907 


4.653  \ 
4.852  [   34+ 

10  — 

I    1915 


9.508  J 


f    xoo7 


2  631  } 

5.  c 


31,069   • 

1   19X3 


2,i&6  \   16+ 
'3,x8s  J 

II  — 



TABLE  HI  (Continued) 
Population  in  1910                      Arrests 





































976  [ 

2,121  J 

1.663  1 
2,083  \ 
2,211  j 


6,917  1 
10,052   > 
II,l63  j 

S.375  1 

434  \ 
470  J 

3.674  1 

955  \ 
979  J 

17,430  ) 
17,632  V 
17,716  J 


20  + 


22  — 

19-3  + 
22  — 

26  + 



5  + 
13  + 



New  Orleans. 

St  Louis  

R.  I  




Table  III  shows  that  for  the  cities  given,  one 
white  person  to  twenty-one-plus  of  the  white  popu- 
lation was  arrested  during  1910  or  thereabouts, 
but  one  to  eight-minus  of  the  Negro.  In  the  cities 
of  the  North  one  to  twenty-three  whites  were  ar- 
rested and  one  to  six  Negroes;  in  the  South  ex- 
cluding Wilmington,  Del.,  and  Washington,  one 
to  twenty  whites  and  one  to  eight  for  the  Ne- 
groes. In  Detroit:  one  for  every  two  plus  Ne- 
groes were  arrested. 


In  this  connection,  it  would  seem  that  a  com- 
parison of  the  jail  population  of  a  Northern  and  a 
Southern  State  might  be  of  interest.  For  this  pur- 
pose Alabama  and  Connecticut  were  selected.  In 
1910,  Alabama  had  a  white  population  of  1,228,- 
832  and  908,282  Negroes  while  Connecticut  had 
1,098,897  whites  and  15,174  Negroes.8 

In  both  Alabama  and  Connecticut  the  ratio  of 
whites  and  Negroes  sent  to  jail  during  the  fiscal 
year  ending  September  30,  1914,  was  about  the 
same,  one  white  to  four  Negroes.4  However,  in 
Alabama  one  white  person  to  216  of  the  white 
population  as  against  one  to  54  of  the  Negro, 
while  in  Connecticut,  one  white  person  to  100,  and 
one  Negro  to  20  was  put  in  jail. 

Again,  the  four  counties  of  Connecticut  embrac- 
ing the  large  cities  of  the  State,  and  having  nearly 
all  the  Negro  population,  sent  to  jail  one  white 
to  92  of  the  white  population,  and  one  Negro  to 
24  of  the  Negro,  or  nearly  four  times  their  pro- 
portion.5 But  in  the  other  four  counties  with  an 

1  My  statistics  are  based  on  the  census  of  1910.  The  Special 
Report  of  the  Prison  Inspector  of  Alabama  for  the  year  ending 
September  30,  1914,  and  the  returns  of  the  county  jails  of  Con~ 
nccticut  for  the  same  period.  As  the  white  population  of  Con- 
necticut increased  about  225,000  during  the  previous  decade, 
while  the  Negroes  slightly  decreased,  I  added  70,000  to  the  white 
population  of  1910  to  offset  the  increase  of  whites  during  the 
three  or  four  years  between  1910  and  1914.  But  as  both  races 
increased  in  Alabama  I  use  the  1910  census  for  that  State. 

*  In  proportion  to  their  respective  population,  of  course. 

1  In  order  to  avoid  repetition,  unless  otherwise  indicated,  when 


aggregate  of  187,058  whites  and  1,661  Negroes 
the  ratio  was  one  to  174  for  the  whites,  and  one 
to  64  for  the  Negroes  or  hardly  three  times  as 

Now,  taking  the  three  counties  of  Alabama  in 
which  the  cities  of  Montgomery,  Mobile,  and  Bir- 
mingham are  located,  with  an  aggregate  popu- 
lation of  207,295  whites  and  182,211  Negroes, 
one  white  person  to  90  was  sent  to  jail  and  one 
Negro  to  21,  or  nearly  four  and  one-half  times 
as  many. 

Moreover,  twenty-two  counties  with  no  towns 
of  more  than  1000  population  each,  and  having  a 
total  population  of  293,187  whites  and  274,533 
Negroes  one  white  to  523  was  sent  to  jail  and  one 
Negro  to  141,  or  nearly  four  Negroes  to  one 

Also,  in  fourteen  counties  with  cities  of  1000  to 
10,000  population,  and  a  total  population  of  205,- 
844  whites,  and  207,966  Negroes,  the  races  being 
almost  equal  in  numbers,  one  white  to  400,  and  one 
Negro  to  75  were  sent  to  jail,  or  six  times  the 
Negro's  share. 

one  white  to  four  Negroes  or  any  such  ratio  is  mentioned,  the 
meaning  is  this:  I  divide  the  white  population  of  the  state  by 
the  white  prisoners  for  the  number  of  white  people  to  each  white 
prisoner,  and  divide  the  Negro  population  of  the  State  for  the 
number  of  Negroes  to  each  Negro  prisoner,  and  then  divide 
the  white  prisoners  by  the  Negro  to  get  the  ratio  of  Negro  pris- 
oners to  the  white. 


Furthermore,  six  counties  consisting  almost 
wholly  of  white  people,  having  a  total  population 
of  119,496  whites  and  5,670  Negroes, — had  in 
jail  one  white  to  363  and  one  Negro  to  27,  or 
twelve  Negroes  to  one  white  person. 

Moreover,  eight  counties  of  Alabama,  with  an 
aggregate  population  of  41,323  white  and  185,222 
Negroes,  about  four  and  one-half  times  as  many 
Negroes  as  whites,  one  white  to  689  were  sent  to 
jail  and  one  Negro  to  156,  or  about  four  and  one- 
half  times  as  many. 

In  studying  the  jail  statistics  of  Alabama, 
whether  cities  or  counties,  it  soon  becomes  evi- 
dent that  the  criminality  of  the  Negro  increases 
as  his  proportion  to  the  whole  population  de- 
creases ;  in  other  words,  the  fewer  the  Negroes  in 
a  given  population  the  more  criminal  they  appear. 
An  examination  of  Tables  I,  II,  and  III  will  show 
that  this  is  not  only  true  of  Alabama,  but  true, 
with  scarcely  an  exception,  both  North  and  South. 
Negro  crime  seemingly  increases  in  the  cities  and 
in  the  North  and  the  West.  So  does  the  crime  of 
the  white  man  increase,  although  not  to  the  same 

In  general,  the  denser  the  population  the  more 
likely  is  friction  to  occur,  or  collisions  among  its 


units.  But  this  is  not  an  adequate  explanation  for 
the  increase  of  Negro  crime.  Nor  can  it  be  ac- 
counted for  except  in  small  part,  by  attributing 
it  to  the  more  complex  social  environment  of  the 
cities  and  of  the  North.  However,  it  is  not  to  be 
doubted  that  the  unstable  character  of  the  Negro 
is  easily  influenced  by  the  temptations  incident  to 
city  life.  More  important,  no  doubt,  is  the  as- 
sumption that  where  Negroes  are  few  in  com- 
parison with  the  whites,  they  are  more  tempted 
to  commit  acts  of  thievery,  robbery,  and  burglary. 
Again,  in  the  cities,  officers  of  the  law  are  on  the 
watch,  consequently  more  apt  to  detect  and  catch 
a  criminal ;  also,  where  the  Negroes  are  few  they 
are  likely  to  be  held  more  strictly  to  the  white 
man's  standard  of  conduct.  However,  in  some 
parts  of  the  South,  a  white  man  sometimes  may 
be  arrested  when  for  the  same  act  a  Negro  would 
hardly  be  bothered.  The  idea  seems  to  obtain 
that  for  certain  things  allowance  must  be  made 
for  the  ignorance  of  the  Negro,  but  no  excuse  is 
made  for  the  white  man. 

Again,  a  great  deal  of  the  friction  between  the 
two  races  in  the  South  is  caused  by  the  resistance 
of  Negro  criminals  to  officers  of  the  law.  Not 
only  so,  but  relatives,  friends  and  other  Negroes 
as  well  often  attempt  to  shield  the  Negro  criminal 


in  order  that  he  may  escape  detection  and  arrest. 
This  is  not  exceptional  but  rather  of  frequent  oc- 
currence. It  is  one  of  the  ways  in  which  the  black 
man  shows  himself  to  be  an  enemy  of  law  and 
order.  He  does  not  seem  to  realize  the  attitude 
in  which  he  places  his  race  in  acting  thus.  Now, 
where  the  Negroes  form  a  large  part  or  the 
greater  part  of  the  population,  it  is  much  easier 
for  him  to  aid  Negro  criminals,  and  it  is  often  ef- 
fectively done.  But  where  there  are  but  few  Ne- 
groes in  the  population,  it  is  to  that  extent  more 
difficult  for  the  Negro  criminal  to  escape  detection 
and  arrest.  These  seem  to  be  the  main  reasons 
why  Negroes  appear  more  criminal  where  there 
are  but  few  in  the  population. 

In  addition  to  statistics,  a  few  newspaper  clip- 
pings may  aid  one  more  fully  to  appreciate  Negro 
criminality.7  It  is  hardly  probable  that  anywhere 
in  the  United  States  has  the  Negro,  on  the  whole, 
had  better  advantages  than  in  Maryland,  Virginia, 
and  Delaware,  especially  is  this  true  of  the  Eastern 
Shore  of  Maryland.  For  this  reason  the  follow- 
ing are  the  more  significant: 

7 1  made  no  effort  to  find  these.  I  give  here  only  a  few  of 
those  taken  from  Baltimore  Sun,  Baltimore  American,  and  refer 
mainly  to  Maryland,  Virginia,  and  Delaware.  What  may  be 
true  in  these  States  as  regards  Negro  criminality,  is  likely  to  be 
found  intensified  farther  south.  ' 



"John  E.  Goode,  a  Negro,  blew  off  the  top  of 
his  head  at  Bedford  City  this  morning  in  prefer- 
ence to  appearing  as  a  witness  against  Thomas  W. 
Preston,  the  Negro  murderer  of  M.  D.  Custy,  a 
saloon-keeper.  .  .  .  Goode  was  present  when  the 
murder  was  committed.  A  Negro  family  named 
Davis,  relatives  of  Preston,  are  said  to  have 
threatened  Goode's  life,  if  he  testified."  8 

A  Negro  in  Chestertown,  Md.,  being  tried  on 
three  charges  of  arson,  attacks  the  officers  of  the 

"Pointing  to  the  Negro,  State's  Attorney  Vick- 
ers  intimated  that  he  had  set  fire  to  the  beautiful 
buildings  on  the  grounds  of  the  Washington  Col- 
lege near  Chestertown.  Suddenly  the  Negro 
made  a  leap  for  the  States  Attorney,  but  was 
stopped  by  Deputy  Sheriff  Brown.  The  enraged 
Negro  turned  and  struck  the  deputy  sheriff  a  stun- 
ning blow  under  the  chin.  ...  It  required  seven 
men  to  quiet  the  Negro."  9 

"John  Carter,  the  Negro  who  shot  Policeman 
Elizabeth  Faber  and  Patrolman  George  W.  Popp 

8  Baltimore  Sun,  Jan.  6,  1910. 
*  Baltimore  News,  Oct  20,  1916. 


on  October  17  on  the  Edmondson  Avenue  bridge 
when  they  attempted  to  arrest  him  died  in  the  city 
jail  at  3.10  o'clock  yesterday  morning."  10 

"The  final  decision  in  the  Brownsville  incident 
is  closed  finally  and  the  verdict  will  give  entire 
satisfaction  to  everybody  except  Hon.  Joseph 
Foraker  of  Ohio ;  the  Negro  soldiers  who  shot  up 
the  Texas  town  and  their  comrades  who  concealed 
the  guilt  of  the  bloodthirsty  marauders."  " 

"Negro  soldiers  of  the  Twenty-fourth  United 
States  Infantry  had  planned  a  riot  of  bloodshed 
among  the  white  residents  of  Houston  (Texas) 
August  23,  two  days  before  the  deadly  attack 
which  cost  the  lives  of  15  Houston  citizens  last 
month,  according  to  the  report  of  the  Civilian 
board  of  inquiry  which  reported  to  the  Houston 
City  Council  to-night.  .  .  . 

"The  committee  says  that  the  undisputed  and 
convincing  testimony  of  witnesses  proves  that  the 
Negro  soldiers  went  forth  to  slay  the  white  popu- 
lation indiscriminately:  that  no  Negro  was  hurt 
or  molested  by  them,  not  one  Negro  house  was 
fired  into,  and  that  the  Negroes  were  warned  be- 
forehand ...  to  stay  off  the  streets."  12 

10  Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  4,  1915. 

11  Ibid.,  April  8,   1910. 
u  Ibid.,  Sept   12,   1917. 


"The  police  of  the  Northwestern  district  are 
looking  for  about  25  Negroes  who  late  Saturday 
night  attempted  to  break  down  the  front  door  of 
the  boarding  house  conducted  by  Miss  Mary  Ash- 
ten  at  906  McCulloh  street."  13 

"Centerville,  Md.,  Jan.  7.  The  Rev.  J.  D. 
Jackson,  colored,  pastor  of  Bethel-African  Metho- 
dist Episcopal  Church,  was  arrested  and  placed 
in  jail  here  to-day  charged  with  housebreaking  and 
burglary."  14 

"Middletown,  Del. — The  Rev.  Aaron  Gibbs,  a 
Negro  preacher,  is  being  held  in  $500  bail  for 
court  for  alleged  theft  of  280  pounds  of  meat 
from  the  farm  of  Daniel  Ford,  near  this  place. 
The  meat  was  recovered  at  the  home  of  Gibbs  by 
Chief  of  Police,  Lee  Cochran."  .  .  . 

"Another  Negro,  Arthur  Brewington,  wanted 
for  theft  of  meat  and  chickens  held  the  whole 
Smyrna  police  force  at  bay  for  hours,  until  his  am- 
munition gave  out.  He  then  retreated  escaping 
from  the  force  into  a  deep  swamp  five  miles 
away."  15 

13  Baltimore  American,  Feb.  18,  1913. 

14  Baltimore  Sun,  Jan.  8,  1917. 
-  "Ibid.,  Feb.  21,  1917. 


"Seaford,  Del.,  July  3. — Negroes  who  live  in 
and  around  Bridgeville  attempted  to  take  the 
town  last  night.  .  .  .  About  10  o'clock  at  night 
the  Negroes  began  firing  among  themselves,  and 
Bridgeville  being  without  police  protection,  was 
at  the  mercy  of  their  revolvers,  which  were  being 
fired  in  rapid  succession.  The  town  seemed  to  be 
alive  with  brawling  blacks,  and  several  fights  were 
started  in  different  parts  of  the  town.  At  the  rail- 
road station  a  large  crowd  collected  and  fired  shots 
in  every  direction.  At  a  colored  church  another 
crowd  got  together,  firing  desperately  among  them- 
selves. The  citizens  being  utterly  helpless  stayed 
in  their  houses  behind  locked  doors."  ie 


"Federalsburg,  Md.,  Aug.  14.  John  Henry 
Lake,  a  Hurlock  Negro,  was  killed  and  Frank 
Dickerson  wounded,  perhaps  fatally,  at  a  celebra- 
tion by  Negroes  last  night."  " 

"Gettysburg,  Pa.,  Sept.  n. — Clara  Brown,  of 
Baltimore,  colored,  was  shot  in  a  brawl  here  in 
the  course  of  an  excursion  and  picnic.  Her  condi- 
tion is  critical.  Three  other  persons  were  also 
injured.  The  picnickers  had  a  gay  frolic.  It  is 

"Baltimore  Weekly  Herald,  July  8,  1909. 
"Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  15,  1914. 


charged  that  fifty  of  them  attacked  a  policeman, 
and  one  of  them  robbed  Robert  King  of  Hunters- 
town  of  $35.  There  were  about  7240  excursion- 
ists. Gettysburg  has  made  a  protest."  1B 

"Roanoke,  Va.,  March  29. — .Drunken  Negroes 
took  charge  of  an  excursion  train  between  this 
city  and  Winston-Salem  last  night  and  as  a  conse- 
quence Sidney  Wood  of  Winston-Salem  is  dead  at 
Martinsville,  and  two-score  other  Negroes  are 
more  or  less  wounded.  Knives,  razors,  and  pistols 
played  prominent  parts  in  the  melee.  .  .  .  The 
train  was  stopped  several  times  by  Negroes  pulling 
the  bell  cord,  and  the  train  was  cut  in  two  several 
times,  leaving  a  number  of  coaches  behind  with  a 
second  section  following.  .  .  .  The  three  coaches 
which  were  cut  off  were  filled  with  white  people. 
.  .  .  When  the  train  reached  Bassetts,  in  Henry 
County,  every  Negro  in  two  coaches  was  appar- 
ently in  a  fight.  The  screams  of  the  terror-stricken 
women  added  to  the  excitement."  19 


'  9 

"Smyrna,  Del.,  Aug.  9. — As  has  been  the  case 
yearly  for  a  dozen  years  there  was  a  fatal  shoot- 
ing affray  at  the  Negro  camp  meeting  at  Friend- 

M  Cambridge  (Md.)  Record,  Sept.  12,  1913. 
18  Baltimore  Sun,  March  30,  1910. 


ship  last  night.  Howard  Hollis,  a  Negro  of  Clay- 
ton, Del.,  was  shot  in  both  legs  during  the  fight. 
...  It  is  not  known  who  shot  Hollis  as  bullets 
were  flying  thick  and  fast  during  the  melee."  20 

"Federalsburg,  Md.,  Sept.  6. — Officers  are 
scouring  lower  Caroline  County  to-day  for  four 
Negroes  who  last  night  shot  up  a  Negro  camp- 
meeting  at  Mount  Hope,  near  this  town."  21 

"Deputy  Sheriff  Bruce  C.  Dean,  yesterday  after- 
noon shot  and  killed  a  Negro  named  Smith  at  what 
is  known  as  Henry's  Cross  Roads  [near  Cam- 
bridge, Md.,  negro]  campmeeting.  .  .  .  There 
has  always  been  more  or  less  disorder;  in  fact,  it 
is  generally  known  that  fights,  cutting  affrays,  and 
a  general  disregard  for  the  law  exists."  22  The 
Negro  who  was  killed  shot  at  the  deputy  Sheriff 
when  he  tried  to  arrest  him. 

"Salisbury,  Md.,  Aug.  23. — A  riot  occurred 
last  night  at  the  Negro  campmeeting,  on  the  west 
side  of  the  county,  and  Asbury  Waters,  19  years 
old,  was  killed,  and  Clinton  Gosless  was  shot 
through  his  jaw-bone  and  his  chin  carried  away  by 
a  bullet. 

"Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  10,  1915. 
"  Ibid.,  Sept  7,   1915. 
"Cambridge  (Md.)  Record,  Aug.  25,  1913. 


"Just  at  the  height  of  the  services  one  of  the 
local  preachers,  was  raising  his  hands  in  prayer, 
a  colored  woman  slipped  into  the  kneeling  crowd 
and  pulled  a  pistol  from  her  dress  folds  and  fired 
a  bullet  into  his  heart.  Waters  pitched  forward 
and  died  instantly.  .  .  .  Immediately  after,  Sallie 
Milburn  whipped  a  pistol  from  her  pocket  and 
blazed  away  at  Clinton  Gosless,  the  bullet  enter- 
ing his  jaw.  Gosless  is  in  a  very  serious  condition 
with  little  hope  of  his  recovery." 

Both  these  accounts  were  in  the  same  issue  of 
the  Cambridge  (Md.)  Record,  but  the  camps 
were  in  adjoining  counties. 

Indeed,  Negro  camp  meetings  and  bush  meet- 
ings had  become  so  numerous, — occupied  such  a 
large  part  of  the  Negroes'  time  during  summer, 
caused  so  much  lawlessness  among  them ;  and  con- 
sequently so  much  expense  to  the  whites,  that  the 
Maryland  Legislature  in  1916  passed  a  law  evi- 
dently directed  against  them,  which  in  part  is  as 
follows : 

"It  shall  be  unlawful  for  any  person,  persons, 
association  or  organization  of  any  kind  whatever 
to  hold  any  camp  meeting  or  bush  meeting  within 
the  limits  of  Talbot,  Caroline,  Dorchester,  Somer- 


set,  Kent,  and  Worcester  Counties  without  first 
making  application  in  writing  at  least  fifteen  days 
prior  to  the  date  of  such  camp  meeting  or  bush 
meeting  therein.  That  such  application  for  a  per- 
mit as  aforesaid,  shall  be  accompanied  by  a  peti- 
tion in  writing  signed  by  at  least  twenty-five  tax 
payers,  each  of  whom  shall  reside  within  three 
miles  of  the  place  where  such  camp  meeting  is 
to  be  held,  and  each  petition  shall  have  annexed 
thereto  as  a  part  thereof  an  affidavit  to  the  effect 
that  each  of  the  said  petitioners  are  bona  fide  tax 
payers  and  of  their  residences  within  three  miles 
of  said  place  of  such  proposed  meeting.  And 
whenever  the  County  Commissioners  of  any  of  the 
respective  counties  shall  have  any  reasonable 
grounds  that  any  lawlessness  or  disorder  will  oc- 
cur, at  said  camp  meeting  or  bush  meeting,  they 
shall  refuse  to  grant  such  permit,  and  if,  after  is- 
suing any  permit  to  hold  any  camp  meeting  or 
bush  meeting  there  shall  be  lawlessness  or  disorder 
reported  to  said  County  Commissioners,  it  shall 
be  the  duty  of  said  officials  to  investigate  or  have 
investigated  by  the  Sheriff  or  other  officer  of  said 
county,  the  matter,  and  upon  proof  of  said  law- 
lessness or  disorder  they  shall  forthwith  revoke 
said  permit  and  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  Sheriff, 
or  other  officer  of  the  respective  Counties  to  en- 
force the  provisions  of  this  act." 


In  about  the  same  spirit  and  for  the  same  pur- 
pose, the  reduction  of  Negro  crime,  a  few  years 
ago,  the  city  of  Mobile,  Alabama,  passed  an  ordi- 
nance, an  account  of  which  is  taken  from  a  Balti- 
more periodical:  23 

"The  police  department  of  Mobile,  Ala.,  has 
established  a  curfew  law  for  Negroes.  Com- 
mencing on  the  night  of  July  21,  the  law  provides 
that  all  Negroes  must  be  in  bed  at  their  homes  by 
ten  o'clock  or  be  subject  to  arrest.  Any  caught 
wandering  at  large  after  that  hour  will  be  locked 
up.  This  action  is  taken  because  there  is  said  to 
be  an  epidemic  of  hold-ups  perpetrated  by  the  Ne- 
groes. If  such  a  law  was  enforced  in  Baltimore 
it  would  decrease  the  alley  fights  ninety-five  per 


In  connection  with  Negro  criminality  it  seems 
pertinent  to  say  something  of  Negro  immorality. 
Two  of  the  Negro's  most  prominent  character- 
istics are  the  utter  lack  of  chastity  and  complete 
ignorance  of  veracity. 

The  Negro's  sexual  laxity,  considered  so  im- 
moral or  even  criminal  in  the  white  man's  civil- 
ization, may  have  been  all  but  a  virtue  in  the 

*  Methodist  Protestant,  July  28,  1909. 


habitat  of  his  origin.  There  nature  developed  in 
him  intense  sexual  passions  to  offset  his  high  death 
rate.  Then,  too,  the  economic  influences  which 
fostered  a  family  life  among  other  peoples  were 
mostly  lacking  in  tropical  Africa  as  nature  pro- 
vided abundantly  without  effort  on  the  part  of 

Although  the  regulations  adopted  by  masters 
for  the  control  of  the  Negroes  during  slavery  times 
may  have  served  as  a  check  upon  their  natural 
sexual  propensities,  however,  since  emancipation  » 
they  have  been  under  no  such  restraint  and  as  a 
consequence  they  have  possibly  almost  reverted  to 
what  must  have  been  their  primitive  promiscuity. 
Huffman  says  that  in  1894  more  than  one-fourth 
of  the  colored  births  in  the  city  of  Washington 
were  illegitimate.  Many  prominent  Negroes  ad- 
mit that  above  ninety  per  cent  of  both  sexes  are 
unchaste.  A  negro  may  be  a  pillar  in  the  church 
and  at  the  same  time  the  father  of  a  dozen  ille- 
gitimate children  by  as  many  mothers. 

Another  Negro  failing  is  lying.  One  can  be- 
lieve  neither  layman  nor  minister,  neither  criminal 
nor  saint  among  them.  One  may  occasionally  find 
a  truthful  Negro, — just  as  he  may  find  a  virtuous 
or  an  honest  one.  Undoubtedly  both  honest  and 
truthful  was  the  Negro, — an  elder  in  the  church, — 
who  refused  to  partake  of  the  Lord's  Supper,  be- 


cause,  as  he  said,  the  flour  the  bread  was  made  of 
had  been  stolen. 

Some  benevolently-inclined  men  and  many  re- 
ligious zealots  thought  that  religion  and  educa- 
tion was  the  "Open  Sesame"  by  means  of  which 
the  "salvation"  of  the  Negro  was  to  come.  So 
they  sent  him  money  to  build  churches  and  to 
found  great  schools.  Many,  however,  are  now 
finding  that  though  the  Negro  may  have  religion 
he  has  no  morality;  and  that  too  often  his  educa- 
tion makes  him  unwilling  to  do  what  he  can  do 
and  wish  to  do  that  for  which  he  is  unfitted  or  for 
which  there  is  no  demand.  At  present  who  can 
tell  whether  he  is  going  forward  or  backward. 
Some  one  has  said  that  there  is  going  on  side  by 
side  in  the  Negro  people  a  minimum  of  progress 
with  a  maximum  of  regress. 

However,  the  Negro  takes  great  pride  in  his 
church,  and  in  his  way  is  intensely  religious.  The 
late  Booker  T.  Washington  said: 

"Of  these  millions  of  black  people  there  is  only 
a  very  small  percentage  that  does  not  have  formal 
or  informal  connection  with  some  church." 

It  is,  indeed,  likely  that  more  than  one-half  of 
the  male  Negro  adults  are  actual  members  of 
church,  while  not  more  than  one  in  four  or  five 


white  male  adults  have  such  connection.  Notwith- 
standing such  a  showing,  religion  does  not  seem  to 
have  any  controlling  influence  over  the  life  and 
character  of  the  Negro. 

Nevertheless,  the  Negro  enjoys  his  religion, 
for  he  is  an  emotional  animal.  It  is  the  emo- 
tional element  in  religion  that  appeals  to  him  and 
makes  his  face  to  shine.  The  promise  of  never- 
ending  pleasure  in  a  world  to  come  may  be  but 
faintly  comprehended  by  him,  but  the  fear  of  a 
far  off  punishment  deters  him  but  little  from  crime. 
He  is  the  optimist  of  the  human  race,  and  lives  in 
the  eternal  present.  He  has  no  sorrows  from  the 
past,  and  no  care  except  for  the  immediate  future. 
He  keeps  without  effort  or  intention  two  injunc- 
tions of  Scripture:  "Visit  the  sick,"  and  "have 
no  care  for  to-morrow." 

He  goes  to  camp  meetings  or  revivals,  sings,  '  * 
prays,  and  shouts  until  the  small  hours  of  the 
night.  He  may  think  he  thus  pays  the  Lord  His 
due,  even  though  the  next  day,  if  he  works  at  all, 
he  sleeps  on  the  plow-handle,  or  with  half-closed 
eyes  cuts  up  the  tobacco  or.  the  cotton. 

However,  he  may  be  free  from  the  painful  ne- 
cessity to  work  the  next  day,  if  his  wife  or  mother 
should  have  just  returned  from  a  white  neighbor 
with  an  "apronful,"  even  if  he  did  not  visit  some 


tempting  smoke-house  or  hen-roost  on  the  way 
home  from  his  religious  revelry. 

How  can  Negro  criminality  and  immorality  be 
lessened?  The  answer  is  not  easy,  and  what  fol- 
lows is  merely  suggestive.  Up  to  the  present, 
what  little  the  Negro  has  accomplished,  in  most 
part  has  been  due  to  the  white  blood  he  has  re- 
ceived, or  to  white  direction  and  sympathy.  The 
Negro  is  woefully  lacking  in  initiative  and  per- 
sistence. He  would  be  greatly  benefited  by  some 
sort  of  probationary  oversight.  If  the  Filipinos 
are  not  fit  for  self-government  collectively,  much 
less  the  Negro  individually.  A  great  part  of  them 
are  no  more  fit  to  profit  by  their  freedom  than 
so  many  children.  Nothing  so  promotes  health 
of  body  and  strength  of  character  as  regular  and 
persistent  industry.  To  the  Negro  should  be 
preached  the  "gospel  of  salvation"  through  work. 
Somehow  get  him  to  work  six  days  in  the  week, 
instead  of  working  two  and  loafing  four,  as  many 
now  do.  Industrial  schools  such  as  Hampton  and 
Tuskegee  meet  a  great  need  but  they  touch  but 
few.  " 

If  the  States  had  the  power  to  train  or  even  to 
enforce  habits  of  industry  and  thrift  upon  the 
shiftless,  idle,  and  vicious  Negroes  it  would  un- 
doubtedly result  in  measureless  benefit  to  both 
white  and  black.  Liberty  should  not  be  made 


a  "fetish."  If  the  Negro  has  rights  that  should 
not  be  abridged,  so  have  the  white  people  rights 
and  lives  that  should  not  be  endangered.  The 
law-abiding  many  have  the  right  to  protection 
from  the  criminal  few — actual  or  incipient.  With 
the  adoption  of  some  such  scheme  the  Negro  might 
gradually  cease  to  be  a  menace  to  the  white  race. 
Again,  so  often  the  Negro  leaders  of  the  Negro 
race  are  merely  blind  leaders  of  the  blind, — en- 
tirely lacking  in  breadth  of  view,  often  discour- 
aging in  their  race  what  they  should  encourage 
and  encouraging  what  they  should  discourage  as 
the  following  quotation  may  indicate: 

'  'Make  lynching  a  Federal  crime,  and  stop 
turning  the  murderers  over  to  local  authorities 
who  are  in  sympathy  with  them,'  demanded  Dr. 
W.  T.  Vernon,  of  Memphis,  Tenn.,  before  15,- 
ooo  Negroes,  who  were  celebrating  the  twenty- 
fifth  quadrennial  Conference  of  the  African  M.  E. 
Church  in  Convention  Hall,  Broad  street  and  Al- 
legheny Avenue,  yesterday."  24 

Such  talk  as  this  serves  to  promote  Negro 
crime.  If  instead  of  Negro  leaders  writing  ar- 
ticles for  magazines  and  Negro  papers,  in  ser- 
mons in  Negro  churches,  and  in  addresses  before 

"Philadelphia  Record,  May  8,  1916. 


Negro  conventions  denouncing  the  whites  for  pro- 
tecting themselves  against  Negro  crime  in  their 
own  way,  could  realize  that  it  is  not  so  much  the 
black  skin  as  what  sort  of  man  the  black  skin 
covers,  that  counts,  would  demonstrate  to  their 
black  brothers  that  they  themselves  are  the  sin- 
ners rather  than  the  sinned  against,  that  they  are 
the  transgressors  rather  than  otherwise,  they 
might  accomplish  much  toward  lessening  Negro 
crime.  If  such  leaders  would  use  their  influence 
to  the  utmost  to  make  their  race  as  law-abiding 
as  the  whites,  and  should  bring  it  about,  it  is 
hardly  likely  that  then  they  would  need  to  com- 
plain that  their  race  is  imposed  upon.  But  if  they 
were,  at  least,  there  would  be  more  force  in  their 
complaint.  But  so  long  as  the  Negro  race  com- 
mits its  present  amount  of  crime,  the  complaint 
against  unfair  treatment  is  more  than  childish. 



IT  is  hardly  to  be  questioned  that  since  the  Civil 
War  the  white  man  and  the  Negro  have  been 
drawing  farther  and  farther  apart.  Religious 
teachers,  political  adventurers,  and  fortune  hunt- 
ers gave  the  first  great  impetus  to  the  movement. 
The  teachers,  however,  misguided,  may  have  been 
sincere  in  their  efforts  to  benefit  the  Negro ;  but  the 
carpet-baggers  had  in  mind  only  personal  aggran- 

This  political  separation  of  the  Negroes  from 
the  Southern  whites  was  the  entering  wedge  that 
split  asunder  the  ties  that  had  bound  the  two  races 
together.  Otherwise  the  Negroes  might  have  di- 
vided with  the  whites  between  two  or  more  politi- 
cal parties.  This  would  have  resulted  greatly  to 
their  advantage  for  each  party  would  have  bid 
for  their  vote. 

Upon  the  passing  of  the  carpet-bag  administra- 
tions, however,  the  Negroes  lost  most  of  their  po- 
litical importance.  Since  then  it  has  been  further 



reduced  until  it  is  now  almost  a  negligible  quan- 

During  the  Reconstruction  period,  the  attitude 
of  the  Negroes  served  to  alienate  their  former 
masters,  who  undoubtedly  would  have  otherwise 
been  their  best  friends.  Between  most  of  the  Ne- 
groes and  the  poor  whites  of  the  South,  there  had 
always  existed  a  feeling  of  mutual  dislike  if  not 
contempt.  After  the  War  great  numbers  of  the 
latter  secured  wealth  and  influence.  Their  dislike 
of  the  Negro,  however,  has  increased  rather  than 

Thus,  the  Negroes  began  to  feel  the  lack  of 
that  sympathy,  consideration,  and  direction  from 
the  whites  to  which  they  had  been  accustomed. 
Therefore,  whether  consciously  or  unconsciously, 
they  turned  to  leaders  of  their  own  color  more 
readily,  and  this  has  gradually  developed  a  feeling 
of  race  solidarity.  However,  this  should  not  be 
an  unmixed  evil. 

Again,  in  many  parts  of  the  South,  the  indus- 
trial development  of  the  past  thirty  years  has  fur- 
thered segregation  in  that  section  by  drawing  the 
whites  to  the  towns  and  cities.  But  Negroes  have 
also  turned  to  the  cities  in  great  numbers  notwith- 
standing the  fact  that  the  industrial  enterprises  of 
the  cities  usually  hold  out  but  little  if  any  induce- 
ments to  such  migration.  This  has  given  rise  to 


the  agitation  for  the  segregation  of  the  races  in 
the  cities  whether  voluntary  or  by  legal  enactment. 
While  this  is  more  pronounced  in  the  South  it  has 
also  spread  to  the  North  and  West. 

One  of  the  most  noteworthy  examples  of  volun- 
tary segregation  is  to  be  found  in  New  York  City: 

"In  one  district  of  New  York  City  a  Negro 
population  equal  in  numbers  to  the  inhabitants  of 
Dallas,  Texas,  or  Springfield,  Mass.,  lives,  works, 
and  pursues  its  ideals  almost  as  a  separate  entity 
from  the  great  surrounding  metropolis.  Here  the 
Negro  merchants  ply  their  trade;  Negro  profes- 
sional men  follow  their  various  vocations;  their 
children  are  educated;  the  poor,  sick,  and  the  or- 
phan of  their  race  is  cared  for;  churches,  news- 
papers, and  books  flourish  heedless  of  those  out- 
side this  Negro  community  who  resent  its  presence 
in  a  white  city."  * 

Indeed,  in  many  parts  of  the  country  the  Ne- 
groes have  separated  themselves  from  the  whites 
by  founding  small  communities  of  their  own.  In 
almost  any  state,  villages  and  towns  populated 
and  governed  almost  exclusively  by  Negroes  may 
be  found.  A  few  of  the  more  important  are: 
Buxton,  Iowa,  1000  whites  and  4000  Negroes; 

1  The  Outlook,  Dec.  23,  1914. 


Brooklyn,  Illinois,  1600  Negroes;  Balor,  Okla- 
homa, 3000;  Plateau,  Alabama,  1500;  Mound 
Bayou,  Mississippi,  yoo.2 

In  addition,  there  are  almost  an  unlimited  num- 
ber of  what  may  be  termed  Negro  settlements 
scattered  over  the  country.  Such  is  Petersburg, 
on  a  railroad  two  miles  from  Hurlock,  Maryland, 
which  may  serve  as  an  example.  It  consists  of 
about  twenty-five  houses  and  lots  or  little  farms, 
altogether  embracing  about  one  hundred  acres. 
These  are  mostly  owned  by  the  Negroes  who  live 
on  them.  They  bought  these  little  tracts  several 
years  ago  when  the  land  was  considered  almost 
worthless  as  it  was  so  sandy  and  poor.  The  men 
till  their  lots  and  occasionally  work  by  the  day 
for  some  of  the  surrounding  white  farmers.  In 
season,  the  women  and  children  and  some  of  the 
men  as  well  go  elsewhere  to  pick  berries.  In  the 
late  summer  all  have  employment  at  home  for 
about  two  months  furnished  by  a  white  cannery, 
near.  Altogether  it  seems  to  be  a  very  contented 
community.  Each  Negro  is  his  own  boss  and  can 
work  when  it  suits  him  and  stop  when  he  pleases. 
To  make  such  a  living  as  satisfies  him  he  need 
work  scarcely  half  of  his  time.  This  just  suits 
Negro  inclinations  and  consequently  Petersburg 
is  a  little  paradise  for  the  Negro. 

""Negro  Year  Book,"  1914-1915. 


However,  the  segregation  of  the  Negro  is  not 
yet  universal.  In  some  towns  and  cities  as  well 
both  North  and  South  they  are  more  or  less  scat- 
tered. In  the  City  of  Washington  they  are  found 
practically  everywhere.  In  most  cities  they  oc- 
cupy the  most  undesirable  parts — such  as  any  low 
muddy  places  or  narrow  alleys.  In  some  small 
cities  of  the  South,  while  there  may  be  a  well  de- 
fined Negro  section,  nearly  every  well-to-do  fam- 
ily has  a  Negro  servant  family  in  the  back  yard. 
La  Grange,  Georgia,  is  an  example. 

But  in  the  greater  number  of  towns  and  cities 
the  Negro  section  and  the  white  section  have  been 
clearly  defined  for  years.  Cambridge,  Maryland, 
— a  city  of  about  5000  whites  and  2000  Ne- 
groes,— is  of  that  sort.  All  the  Negroes  live  in 
the  Southwest  section  except  two  or  three  fami- 
lies that  live  in  a  kind  of  alley  near  the  bridge 
which  connects  East  Cambridge  with  the  main 
part  of  the  city.  One  sees  but  few  Negroes  on 
any  white  street,  not  even  on  the  main  business 
street  except  Saturdays  when  they  do  their  shop- 
ping. But  on  the  street  just  west  of  the  main 
business  street  and  parallel  with  it,  the  business 
street  of  the  Negro  section,  only  a  few  whites  are 
ever  to  be  seen  but  it  is  always  black  with  Negroes. 
Here  are  Negro  grocery  stores,  a  drug  store,  bar- 
ber shops,  theater,  schools,  and  churches.  Very 


few  mulattoes  are  in  evidence  for  the  Negroes  are 
nearly  all  of  pure  blood.  One  never  hears  of  any 
serious  trouble  between  the  Negroes  and  whites 
of  Cambridge  for  they  live  in  comparative  har- 
mony with  one  another.  At  East  New  Market  in 
the  same  county,  a  railroad  separates  the  white 
from  the  Negro  section  of  the  town,  while  at 
Vienna,  eleven  miles  distant,  the  Negro  section  is 
several  hundred  yards  from  the  white  part  of  the 

Although  Negroes  constitute  about  one-third 
of  the  population  of  the  Eastern  Shore  of  Mary- 
land, they  have  not  become  sufficiently  numerous 
as  farmers  as  to  cause  much  injury  to  farm  land 
or  to  farming  interests,  whether  by  careless  and 
indifferent  farming  or  by  making  the  country  dis- 
tricts undesirable  to  white  people  as  places  of 
residence.  Most  of  the  Negroes  in  the  country 
districts  are  used  by  the  white  farmers  as  farm 
hands.  Negroes  are  seldom  able  to  rent  the  better 
grade  farms  while  those  owned  by  them  are  usual- 
ly small  and  poor.  As  a  consequence  most  of  the 
land  on  the  Eastern  Shore  is  in  a  high  state  of 
cultivation  and  the  farmers  prosperous  and  con- 

In  most  parts  of  the  farther  South,  however,, 
except  Texas  and  Oklahoma,  and  the  Piedmont 
and  mountain  sections,  the  whites  have  allowed  the 


Negroes  to  gain  such  a  foothold  in  the  country 
districts  that  they  are  now  the  greatest  obstacles  to 
agricultural  progress.  The  South  is  just  begin- 
ning to  realize  the  true  condition  of  things. 

Indeed,  already  in  North  Carolina  an  agita- 
tion has  begun  for  the  segregation  of  the  Negro 
in  the  rural  districts.  If  this  could  be  accom- 
plished in  all  parts  of  the  South  it  would  be  a 
wonderful  boon  to  that  section.  Not  only  would 
it  to  a  great  extent  free  the  white  women  from 
fear  of  attack  by  Negroes  but  this  would  serve 
to  attract  to  the  South  thrifty  and  ambitious  farm- 
ers from  other  parts  of  the  country.  A  more  satis- 
factory social  life  could  be  developed  in  the  rural 
districts.  Adequate  schools  and  churches  could 
better  be  maintained,  not  only  for  the  white  race 
but  for  the  Negroes  as  well.  As  a  consequence 
both  races  would  be  benefited. 

With  the  exception  of  the  establishment  in  the 
South  of  separate  schools  for  the  whites  and  the 
Negroes,  only  in  comparatively  recent  years  has 
segregation  been  brought  about  by  law.  More 
than  twenty  years  ago,  however,  a  few  Southern 
States  had  laws  providing  for  segregation  in  rail- 
road travel  and  now  almost  every  Southern  State 
has  such  a  law.  In  some,  Maryland  for  example, 
the  law  also  applies  to  passenger  steamboats.  A 
certain  section  of  the  boat  is  given  to  the  Negroes. 


Both  races  have  now  become  so  accustomed  to 
these  laws  that  they  are  generally  taken  as  a  mat- 
ter of  course. 

Lately  many  Southern  cities  have  passed  ordi- 
nances extending  the  principle  of  segregation  in 
travel,  to  street  cars.  Mobile,  Alabama,  how- 
ever, as  early  as  1902  had  such  an  ordinance  in 
force.  As  it  was  one  of  the  first,  and  but  slightly 
different  from  those  in  force  in  other  cities,  the 
main  part  is  quoted  here,  as  follows: 

"All  persons  or  corporations,  operating  street 
railroads  in  the  city  of  Mobile  or  within  its  police 
jurisdiction  shall  provide  seats  for  the  white  peo- 
ple and  Negroes  when  there  are  white  people  and 
Negroes  on  the  same  car  by  requiring  the  conduc- 
tor or  other  employe  in  charge  of  the  car  or  cars 
to  assign  to  passengers  to  seats  in  all  the  cars,  or 
when  the  car  is  divided  into  two  compartments  in 
each  compartment,  in  such  manner  as  to  separate 
the  white  people  from  the  Negroes,  by  seating 
the  white  people  in  the  front  seats  and  the  Ne- 
groes in  the  rear  as  they  enter  the  car,  but  in  the 
event  such  order  of  seating  might  cause  inconveni- 
ence to  those  who  are  already  properly  seated,  the 
conductor  or  other  employee,  in  charge  of  the  car, 
may  use  his  discretion  in  seating  passengers,  but 
in  such  manner  that  no  white  person  and  Negro 


must  be  placed,  or  seated,  in  the  same  section,  or 
compartment  arranged  for  two  passengers:  Pro- 
vided, That  Negro  nurses  having  in  charge  white 
children,  or  sick  or  infirm  white  persons,  may  be 
assigned  to  seats  among  the  white  people."  8 

The  conductor  is  also  given  the  authority  of 
police  officer  to  enforce  the  law. 

The  form  of  segregation  which  is  receiving  most 
attention  in  the  South  at  present,  however,  is  the 
effort  of  various  cities, — great  and  small, — to  pro- 
vide by  law,  for  (as  nearly  as  possible)  distinct 
residential  sections  for  the  two  races.  This  ques- 
tion was  first  agitated  in  Baltimore 'in  1809.  A 
segregation  law  was  passed  but  it  was  soon  pro- 
nounced invalid  by  the  courts.  In  1911,  another 
such  ordinance  was  put  in  force  but  it,  too,  was 
declared  void,  first  by  the  Criminal  Court  of  Balti- 
more, and  later  by  the  Maryland  Court  of  Ap- 
peals. The  latter  Court,  however,  maintained 
that  the  city  has  the  right  to  pass  a  segregation 
law.  I  quote  the  following  words  of  the  court: 

"This  Court  is  of  the  opinion  that  the  Mayor 
and  City  Council  of  Baltimore  may,  in  the  exer- 
cise of  its  police  power,  validly  pass  an  ordinance 
for  the  segregation  of  the  white  and  colored  races 

'Code  of  Mobile,  1907,  p.  330. 


without  conflicting  with  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States  or  of  the  State  of  Maryland."  4 

Very  soon  after  this,  another  ordinance  was 
passed.  It  has  now  been  in  operation  about  four 
years  ( 1917) .  However,  the  Maryland  Court  of 
Appeals  is  holding  a  case  sub  curia,  awaiting  a  de- 
cision of  the  United  States  Supreme  Court  in  a 
case  testing  the  validity  of  the  segregation  law  of 

In  1912  the  Virginia  Legislature  enacted  a  law 
for  the  purpose,  it  seems,  of  encouraging  the  cities 
and  towns  of  that  State  to  segregate  the  whites 
and  the  Negroes.  Richmond,  however,  had  al- 
ready passed  a  segregation  ordinance  in  1911.  It 
is  as  follows: 

"That  it  shall  be  unlawful  for  any  white  per- 
son to  occupy  as  a  residence  or  to  establish  and 
maintain  as  a  place  of  public  assembly,  any  house 
upon  any  street  or  alley  between  two  adjacent 
streets  in  which  a  greater  number  of  houses  are 
occupied  as  residences  by  colored  people  than  are 
occupied  as  residences  by  white  people. 

"That  it  shall  be  unlawful  for  any  colored  per- 
son to  occupy  as  a  residence  or  to  establish  and 
maintain  as  a  place  of  public  assembly  any  house 

*  Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  6,  1913. 

*a  Found  void  by  U.  S.  Supreme  Court,  Nov.  5,  1917. 


upon  any  street  or  alley  between  two  adjacent 
streets  on  which  a  greater  number  of  houses  are 
occupied  as  residences  by  white  people  than  are 
occupied  as  residences  by  colored  people. 

"That  no  person  shall  construct  or  locate  on 
any  block  or  square  on  which  there  is  at  that  time 
no  residence  any  house  or  other  building  intended 
to  be  used  as  a  residence  without  declaring  in  his 
application  for  a  permit  to  build  whether  the  house 
or  building  so  to  be  constructed  is  designed  to  be 
occupied  by  white  or  colored  people,  and  the  Build- 
ing Inspector  of  the  city  of  Richmond  shall  not  is- 
sue any  permit  in  such  case  unless  the  applicant 
complies  with  the  provisions  of  this  section. 

"That  nothing  in  this  ordinance  shall  affect  the 
location  of  residences  made  previous  to  the  ap- 
proval of  this  ordinance,  and  nothing  herein  shall 
be  so  construed  as  to  prevent  the  occupation  of 
residences  by  white  or  colored  servants  or  em- 
ployes on  the  square  or  block  on  which  they  are 
so  employed. 

"Every  person,  either  by  himself  or  through  his 
agent,  violating,  or  any  agent  for  another  violating 
any  one  or  more  of  the  provisions  of  this  ordinance 
shall  be  liable  to  a  fine  of  not  less  than  $100  nor 
more  than  $200,  recoverable  before  the  police  jus- 
tice of  the  city  of  Richmond,  and,  in  the  discre- 
tion of  the  police  justice,  such  person  may,  in  addi- 


tion  thereto,  be  confined  in  the  city  jail  not  less 
than  30  nor  more  than  90  days."  5 

Some  of  the  principal  reasons  for  the  demand 
for  the  segregation  of  the  two  races  in  towns  and 
cities  are  given  in  the  Preamble  to  the  Virginia  law 
of  1912  as  follows: 

"Whereas  the  preservation  of  the  public  mor- 
als, public  health,  and  public  order,  in  the  cities 
and  towns  of  this  Commonwealth  is  endangered 
by  the  residence  of  white  and  colored  people  in 
close  proximity  to  one  another:  therefore,  be  it 
enacted  by  the  General  Assembly  of  Virginia," 

The  effect  upon  public  order  of  the  "close 
proximity"  of  the  two  races  may  best  be  shown 
by  the  following  quotations : 

"Having  occasion  to  ride  on  the  Guilford  Ave- 
nue car  last  week,  going  down  town,  there  were  10 
or  12  Negro  men  in  their  dirty  working  clothes. 
On  one  seat  there  were  two  of  them ;  the  other  8 
or  10  had  each  of  them  a  separate  bench.  Refined 
handsomely  dressed  women  entering  the  car  had 
to  stand  or  sit  beside  one  of  these  dirty  Negroes. 

'  Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  8,  1913. 


I  am  not  an  enemy  to  the  race.  I  believe  they 
should  have  as  good  accommodations  as  we  have, 
but  they  should  be  to  themselves."  6 

"I  prefer  rubbing  elbows  with  them  (Negro 
guano  factory  laborers)  to  riding  with  the  so- 
called  respectable  Negroes  on  the  Preston  Street 
and  other  cross-town  lines.  On  the  Preston  street 
line  in  particular  conditions  have  become  so  un- 
bearable that  the  writer,  who  formerly  used  this 
line  to  reach  his  place  of  business,  has  been  obliged 
to  adopt  a  more  circuitous  route,  which  takes  fully 
twice  as  long. 

"On  this  line  respectable  white  people  and  white 
women  especially,  are  subjected  to  every  species 
of  affront  and  insult,  which  they  cannot  resent 
without  risk  of  being  drawn  into  a  dispute,  in 
which  no  decent  person  cares  to  be  involved.  The 
Negroes  realize  this  and  it  emboldens  them  still 
further."  7 

"Residents  in  the  1300  block,  Myrtle  Avenue 
were  greatly  excited  yesterday  by  a  colored  family 
moving  into  1334  during  the  morning.  The  block 
is  occupied  by  white  people  and  this  is  the  first  in- 
trusion by  Negroes."  8 

"Letter  to  Baltimore  Sun,  March  n,  1914. 

T  Ibid.,  Aug.   1 8,   1913. 

9  Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  22,  1913. 


"Angered  because  a  colored  family  had  moved 
into  house  No.  128  Patapsco  Avenue,  a  crowd  of 
about  100  residents  of  Pimplico  gathered  before 
the  dwelling  last  night  and  battered  it  with  sticks 
and  stones  until  every  window  pane  was  smashed, 
valuable  chandeliers  demolished  and  plaster 
knocked  in  great  clouds  from  the  walls."  9 

"About  150  determined  white  men  gathered 
early  yesterday  evening  at  a  house  on  Mattfeld 
Avenue,  near  Falls  road,  and  camped  on  the 
grounds  until  a  Negro  family  of  two  men  and 
three  women  and  two  children  living  in  the  house 
left.  .  .  .  After  the  Negroes  had  found  a  place 
the  men  scattered.  .  .  .  No  violence  or  cruelty 
was  meant  toward  the  Negro  family,  but  that  the 
neighborhood  was  determined  to  show  that  it  was 
white  and  meant  to  stay  white."  10 

Indeed,  objections  are  often  made  to  the  loca- 
tion of  Negro  churches,  schools  or  Y.  M.  C.  A.'s 
in  or  near  white  neighborhoods.  The  following 
newspaper  headings  may  be  sufficient  to  indicate 
the  situation : 

"Relay  [Md.]  Objects  to  Negro  College,"  " 
"Mount  Washington  Up  in  Arms  Over  the  Plan 

9  Baltimore  American,  Sept.  21,  1911. 

10  Baltimore  Sun,  May  19,  1916. 
u  Ibid.,  January  13,  1914. 


to  Locate  Morgan  College  [Negro]  There," 12 
"Lafayette  Square  Protests  Against  Putting  a 
Colored  School  On  Its  Borders."  18 

Nor  is  this  attitude  toward  the  Negro  confined 
to  the  South.  If  the  North  had  as  many  Negroes 
in  proportion  to  its  population  as  the  South,  the 
feeling  there  would  be  just  as  acute.  The  follow- 
ing quotations  so  indicate : 

"Boston,  March  23. — Refusing  to  associate 
with  Dr.  Melissa  Thompson,  a  Negress  of  North 
Carolina,  who  has  been  appointed  a  physician  in 
the  maternity  department  of  the  New  England 
Hospital  for  Women  and  Children  in  Roxbury, 
five  young  white  women  doctors  sent  in  their  resig- 
nation." 14 

"Boston,  Sept.  8. — Here  where  years  ago  a 
mob  of  exclusive  Back  Bay  residents  stormed  the 
old  courthouse  to  free  a  Negro  from  his  Southern 
master,  descendants  of  the  Back  Bay  rescuers  to- 
day are  fighting  against  serving  as  election  super- 
visors with  a  Negro,  whose  appointment  became 
known  Wednesday."  1B 

"Baltimore  Sun,  August  26,  1913. 
"  Ibid.,  Aug.   14,   1915. 
"  Ibid.,  March  24,   1911. 
"Baltimore  American,  Sept.  9,  1911. 


"Ithaca,  N.  Y.,  March  28. — The  petition  of 
more  than  200  women  in  Cornell  University 
against  the  admission  of  [Negro]  women  into  the 
only  dormitory  in  the  University  has  been  for- 
warded to  President  Schurman."  16 

"New  York,  July  2. — Twenty  teachers,  about 
half  the  staff  at  Public  School  No.  125,  in  Wooster 
Street,  Manhattan — have  applied  for  transfers, 
owing  to  the  assignment  by  the  Board  of  Educa- 
tion of  William  L.  Burkley  (mulatto)  as  head  of 
the  school."  17 

"Burlington,  Vermont,  dislikes  the  idea  of  hav- 
ing the  Tenth  Cavalry  at  Fort  Ethan  Allen.  The 
Tenth  happens  to  be  a  colored  regiment  and  the 
prospect  of  having  1200  Negro  soldiers  within 
three  miles  of  the  city  is  greatly  exciting  many  of 
the  people  of  Burlington."  18 

"Akron,  Ohio,  August  13. — A  serious  race  riot 
may  take  place  if  notices  posted  on  the  homes  of 
North  Side  Negroes  last  night  by  members  of  a 
citizens'  'Vigilance  league'  in  that  section  of  the 
city,  who  have  warned  the  Negroes  that  unless 

16  Washington  Times,  March,  28,  1911. 

"Baltimore  Sun,  July  3,  1909. 

"  Democrat  and  News,  Cambridge,  Md.,  Sept.  3,  1909. 


they  sell  their  property  and  leave  that  section  of 
the  city,  they  will  be  forcibly  evicted  from  their 
homes,  which  are  also  threatened  with  destruction. 

"Members  of  the  'Vigilance  league'  declare  to- 
day that  the  Negroes  are  practicing  a  form  of 
.blackmail  by  buying  property  in  the  fashionable 
residence  district  of  North  Hill,  which  they  oc- 
cupy until  their  white  neighbors  pay  an  exorbitant 
price  for  their  property  to  get  rid  of  them. 

"They  say  several  instances  of  this  kind  have 
been  recorded  recently  and  feeling  against  the  Ne- 
groes reached  a  high  pitch  at  a  secret  meeting  held 
last  night.  The  public  have  taken  every  precau- 
tion to  guard  against  a  serious  outbreak. 

"The  Negroes  have  been  given  one  week  in 
which  to  sell  their  property  and  leave  that  section 
of  the  city  by  the  'Vigilance  league.'  "  19 

"Bellville,  111.,  Oct.  7. — Ten  of  the  13  Negroes 
who  have  been  on  trial  here  for  a  week,  charged 
with  the  murder  of  Detective  Samuel  Coppedge 
on  the  morning  of  July  2,  which  precipitated  the 
East  St.  Louis,  111.,  race  riots  were  convicted  to- 
day and  sentenced  to  14  years  in  the  penitentiary. 
Three  were  acquitted."  20 

19  Baltimore  American,  Aug.  14,  1913. 
"The  Philadelphia  Record,  Oct.  8,  1917. 


"York,  Pa.,  Aug.  20. — Dr.  George  W.  Bowles, 
a  Negro  physician,  has  started  a  movement  here 
for  the  segregation  of  his  race.  Bowles  believes 
that  Negroes  would  be  better  taken  care  of  if  in 
one  part  of  the  town.  Now  the  blacks  are  housed 
in  the  alleys  and  few  are  permitted  to  rent  houses 
on  the  main  streets."  21 

A  few  such  Negro  leaders  as  Dr.  Bowles,  just 
mentioned,  seem  to  appreciate  the  advantages  of 
segregation  for  the  Negro,  and  for  both  races. 
Others,  however,  object  to  segregation  because  to 
their  minds,  it  is  a  denial  of  social  equality  with 
the  white  race,  or  that  they  are  deprived  of  the 
best  living  conditions.  If  the  Negro  had  the 
proper  race  pride  he  would  welcome  the  oppor- 
tunity to  live  among  his  own  race.  He  would  de- 
light in  the  companionship  of  those  of  his  kind. 
Among  the  Negroes  would  develop  grades  of  so- 
ciety as  among  white  people.  Indeed,  already  in 
Baltimore  Druid  Hill  Avenue  and  other  streets 
have  become  a  sort  of  aristocratic  section  for  the 
Negroes.  Those  who  have  money  have  the  op- 
portunity to  live  among  their  own  race  in  the  best 
manner  possible. 

Other  races  are  so  proud  of  their  traditional 
grandeur  or  present  attainments  as  to  claim  su- 

*  Baltimore  Sun,  Aug.  21,  1913. 


periority  and  exclusiveness.  But  the  Negro  has 
such  little  race  pride  that  were  it  possible  every 
Negro  man  would  have  a  white  wife  and  every 
Negro  woman  a  white  husband.  Many  Negro 
leaders  are  so  lacking  in  race  esteem  as  to  seize 
every  opportunity  to  force  themselves  into  the 
society  of  other  races.  And  although  they  possess 
a  strong  sense  of  their  rights  they  are  usually 
found  unmindful  of  attendant  obligations. 

The  great  mass  of  Negroes,  however,  soon  ac- 
commodate themselves  to  segregation  regulations, 
whether  for  schools,  railways,  or  for  the  residen- 
tial sections  of  cities  and  seem  to  care  but  little 
about  the  question  of  equality.  It  is  only  when 
stirred  up  by  the  unwise  of  their  own  race,  or  by 
some  sentimental,  if  well-meaning,  but  shallow- 
thinking  whites,  who  have  lived  far  removed  from 
association  with  Negroes,  that  they  manifest  much 
interest  in  such  matters. 

In  association  among  races,  unless  there  is  some 
strong  cementing  influence  to  counteract  it,  fric- 
tion is  likely  to  occur  between  them  in  proportion 
to  racial  difference.  And  so  long  as  racial  antip- 
athy shall  exist — and  practical  minded  men  see 
no  signs  of  an  end  of  it  in  the  near  future — regu- 
lations for  the  promotion  of  harmony  should  be 
encouraged  by  both  whites  and  blacks. 

It  would  be  almost  as  reasonable  to  expect  an 


idiot  and  a  genius  to  find  a  common  ground  of 
association  as  to  expect  it  of  a  white  man  and  a 
Negro.  For  in  both  races  there  is  a  failure  to 
recognize  that  consciousness  of  kind  which  is  the 
basis  of  all  pleasant  association.  Indeed,  even 
the  subdivisions  of  the  white  race  show  a  strong 
preference  each  for  those  of  his  own  division.  An 
Italian  prefers  to  associate  with  an  Italian;  a  Ger- 
man, with  Germans;  and  a  Jew,  with  Jews. 

So,  in  the  last  analysis,  the  most  potent  reason 
for  the  segregation  of  the  whites  and  the  Negroes 
is  their  unlikeness.  For  they  are  antipodal  in  the 
extreme:  the  nadir  and  zenith  of  peoples.  This 
dissimilarity  cannot  be  removed  by  soap  and 
water,  time,  charity,  education,  or  culture.  After 
all  these  it  will  yet  remain. 

Another  reason  for  segregation  is  the  criminal- 
ity and  immorality  of  the  Negro  race.  Even  if  it 
would  benefit  a  few  Negroes  or  satisfy  their  van- 
ity to  travel  with  whites  or  to  live  on  the  same 
street  with  them  is  little  reason  why  the  comfort, 
property  values,  health  and  morals  of  the  whites 
should  be  endangered  thereby.  The  better  ele- 
ments of  society  have  rights  as  well  as  the  worst 
and  the  majority  should  receive  consideration  as 
well  as  the  minority.  It  is  in  strict  accord  with 
sound  ethical  principles  that  laws  should  aim  to 
level  up  rather  than  to  level  down. 


Again,  the  susceptibility  of  the  Negro  to  dis- 
ease is  another  very  potent  reason  for  segrega- 
tion laws.  The  Negro's  manner  of  living  since 
his  emancipation — irregular  in  every  way,  some- 
times half-starved — together  with  their  immoral 
habits,  have  so  weakened  the  constitutions  of  a 
great  part  of  them  that  they  easily  become  victims 
to  disease. 

According  to  the  Washington  Post  (March  3, 
1917)  of  20,000  Negroes  who  had  lately  arrived 
in  Philadelphia  from  the  South  1000  were  ill  with 
pneumonia  and  tuberculosis,  of  whom  700  were 
said  to  be  dying. 

The  "Negro  Year  Book"  for  1914-15  makes 
the  statement  that  450,000  Negroes  in  the  South 
are  seriously  ill  all  the  time,  and  that  600,000  of 
the  present  Negro  population  will  die  of  tuber- 
culosis. When  one  recalls  that  thirty-five  years 
ago  tuberculosis  among  Negroes  was  scarcely 
heard  of,  he  may  the  better  appreciate  the  full 
force  of  the  above  statement  in  regard  to  tuber- 
culosis among  Negroes. 

In  a  letter  calling  a  conference  in  Baltimore  to 
consider  better  housing  conditions  for  the  Negro, 
Mayor  Preston  said : 

"The  insanitary  housing  of  many  of  our  color* 
ed  people  and  the  congestion  within  the  area  in 


which  they  reside  are  developing  breeding  for  dis- 
ease. The  condition  is  a  serious  menace  to  the 
general  health  of  the  city.  It  threatens  to  become 
in  the  future  a  matter  of  such  gravity  as  to  chal- 
lenge the  thoughtful  consideration  of  our  entire 
community.  .  .  . 

"The  high  death  rate  in  Baltimore  is  occa- 
sioned by  the  high  mortality  among  the  colored 
people.  The  death  rate  from  tuberculosis  alone 
is  three  and  a  half  colored  to  one  white."  22 

The  Health  Department,  in  a  bulletin  issued 
about  the  same  time,  showed  that  the  death-rate 
per  thousand  of  the  Negro  population  of  Balti- 
more was  33.96,  while  that  of  the  white  popula- 
tion was  but  16.91.  What  is  true  of  Baltimore  is 
more  or  less  true  elsewhere. 

It  is  needless  to  consider  other  reasons  for 
segregation  laws,  the  three  given;  viz.,  to  lessen 
friction,  to  check  criminality  and  immorality,  and 
to  prevent  the  spread  of  disease,  are  sufficient  war- 
rant for  segregation  laws  of  whatever  kind. 

"Baltimore  Sun,  Feb.  20,  1917. 



THE  statement  sometimes  made  that  in  1865 
the  Negro  was  a  landless  and  penniless  race  is  far 
from  the  truth.  Some  slaves  had  property  that 
they  had  secured  through  opportunities  given  them 
by  their  owners.  No  doubt  free  Negroes  secured 
at  least  a  small  share  of  the  public  domain.  Many 
slaves  upon  being  given  freedom  by  benevolent 
masters,  were  also  given  money  or  property  at  the 
same  time. 

Cases  of  this  sort  were  frequent  during  slavery 
times.  Several  such  instances  are  given  in  the 
Staunton  (Va.)  Democrat  during  1846-1848. 
Such  cases  as  the  following  were  not  uncommon : 

"A  Negro  man  named  Lerr;  age  about  35 
years;  a  slave  for  life  $700."  "A  negro  man 
named  Jacob;  age  about  24;  a  slave  from  life — 
$600."  l 

1  Baltimore  Sun,  Dec.  18,  1909. 


These  were  two  items  in  an  inventory  of  the 
estate  Phillip  B.  Saddler  returned  to  the  Orphans' 
Court  of  Baltimore  in  1860. 

Even  The  Liberator  mentions  some  cases  of 
the  kind.  For  example: 

A  man  in  Kentucky  willed  to  his  slaves,  whom 
he  made  free,  horses,  wagons,  farming  imple- 
ments, and  $4,000.  Another,  also  in  Kentucky, 
freed  a  Negro  family  of  four,  purchased  an  ex- 
cellent farm  for  them,  paying  fifty  dollars  an  acre, 
and  in  addition  gave  them  a  wagon,  a  pair  of 
mules  and  a  quantity  of  provisions.  These  are 
given  merely  as  examples  of  what  was  constantly 
taking  place.2 

Indeed,  there  were  many  rich  free  Negroes  in 
the  South  at  the  time  of  the  Civil  War.  Although 
there  is  abundant  evidence  that  the  free  Negroes, 
as  a  rule,  were  an  indolent,  thriftless,  and  even 
vicious  class,  some  of  them,  no  doubt  on  account 
of  the  reinforcement  of  white  blood  in  their  veins, 
were  industrious  and  prosperous. 

At  Charleston,  S.  C.,  alone  in  1860,  there  were 
355  free  Negroes  who  paid  taxes.8  Of  these  226 
owned  real  estate  valued  at  $1,000  or  more,  each. 

"  Liberator,  Jan.  20,  1854,  and  Nov.  9,  1860. 
'Ibid.,  May   n,   1860;   E.  Collins,   "Memories  of  the  South- 
ern States,"  p.  44. 



Some  of  them  had  $10,000  to  $40,000  worth  of 
property.  Altogether  they  had  almost  $  i  ,000,000 

In  Louisiana  also,  as  might  be  expected,  there 
were  many  wealthy  free  Negroes.  Most  of  these 
were  descended  from  the  French  and  the  Spanish 
planters  and  their  Negro  slaves.  One  free  Ne- 
gro family  of  Louisiana  was  said  to  be  the  richest 
Negro  family  in  the  United  States  before  the  War, 
having  property  valued  at  several  hundred  thou- 
sand dollars.4  Frederick  Law  Olmsted,  who  trav- 
eled through  the  State  about  1855,  was  told  that 
some  of  the  free  Negroes  owned  property  worth 
$400,000  or  $500,000,  which  included  some  of 
the  best  sugar  and  cotton  plantations.  Indeed,  all 
over  the  country  might  have  been  found  free  Ne- 
groes with  more  or  less  property.  The  greater 
part  of  it,  no  doubt,  had  been  given  them  by  white 
masters  or  white  relatives. 

In  reference  to  the  amount  of  property  held  by 
Negroes  at  the  time  of  the  Civil  War,  William  H. 
Thomas,  a  Negro  writer,  says: 

"We  have  no  trustworthy  data  by  which  to 
measure  the  wealth  of  those  residing  in  the  North, 
though  it  is  known  to  have  been  considerable; 

*  Liberator,  March  18,  1859.    Also,  Olmsted,  "Seaboard  Slave 
States,"  pp.  633-640. 


but  in  the  South,  where  separate  racial  statistics 
were  kept,  the  value  of  property  owned  by  free 
Negroes  was  between  $35,000,000  and  $40,000,- 

In  1860,  there  were  in  the  neighborhood  of 
250,000  free  Negroes  in  the  South  and  around 
225,000  in  the  North.  Then,  if  the  free  Negroes 
of  the  South  had  nearly  $40,000,000  it  would 
seem  a  fair  estimate  that  in  both  sections  the  free 
Negroes  had  at  least  $60,000,000.  Taking  this 
for  granted,  as  money  at  six  per  cent  compounded, 
annually,  doubles  every  twelve  and  one-half  years, 
the  $60,000,000  at  interest  until  the  present 
(1917)  would  have  amounted  to  about  $960,- 
000,000.  If  the  10,000,000  Negroes  of  the  coun- 
try at  present  had  as  large  amount  of  property  in 
proportion,  as  the  less  than  500,000  free  Negroes 
of  1860,  they  would  be  worth  more  than  $1,200,- 

However,  in  1903,  it  was  estimated  by  a  com- 
mittee of  the  American  Economic  Association  that 
all  the  taxable  property  in  the  United  States  own- 
ed by  Negroes  in  1900  amounted  to  only  $300,- 
000,000.  The  $60,000,000  at  six  per  cent  would 
have  amounted  to  about  $400,000,000  by  that 

In  1913,  in  an  address  before  the  Negro  Busi- 


ness  League  which  met  in  Philadelphia,  Booker 
T.  Washington  said  that  Negroes  pay  taxes  on 
$700,000,000  worth  of  property.  Many  other 
students  of  the  Negro  question  both  black  and 
white  have  placed  about  the  same  estimate  upon 
Negro  holdings.  Even  if  true,  the  amount  would 
be  about  $200,000,000  less  than  the  $60,000,000 
at  interest  to  the  same  time. 

Now,  assuming  that  Negroes  actually  owned 
$700,000,000  worth  of  property  in  1913,  what 
does  it  signify?  The  value  of  all  property  in  the 
United  States  is  now  estimated  at  almost 
$250,000,000,000.  Now,  suppose  that  it  was 
$210,000,000,000  in  1913,  this  would  be  just 
three  hundred  times  the  estimated  value  of  Negro 
property  at  the  time.  In  other  words,  10,000,000 
negroes  owned  one  three-hundredth  as  much  as 
90,000,000  whites.  Thus  one  white  man  on  an 
average  would  have  as  much  as  thirty-two  Ne-i 

Even  were  it  true  that  the  Negro  race  began 
with  nothing  after  the  War,  likely  thousands  of 
white  men  who  became  millionaires  had  just  such 
a  start.  One  such  white  man,  especially,  is,  no 
doubt,  worth  as  much  as  the  10,000,000  Negroes 
claim  to  be,  even  though  he  has  given  to  charity 
almost  half  as  much  more. 

Indeed,  the  $700,000,000  in  question  is  but  lit- 


tie  more  than  two-thirds  as  much  as  the  whites  in 
the  United  States,  according  to  the  Chicago  Trib- 
une,* gave  to  charity  during  1916.  Again,  the 
$700,000,000  lacks  nearly  $200,000,000  of  being 
equal  to  the  taxable  basis  of  Baltimore.  It  would 
be  difficult  to  secure  statistics  in  reference  to  the 
matter,  but  there  could  be  little  doubt  that  the 
first  immigrants  to  the  United  States  after  the 
Civil  War,  including  the  descendents  of  such  to 
the  number  of  10,000,000,  —  immigrants  who 
came  with  practically  nothing,  no  money  in  the  ma- 
jority of  instances  and  ignorant,  —  now  are  worth 
many  times  $700,000,000. 

The  $700,000,000  may  also  be  considered  from 
another  point  of  view  :  The  "Negro  Year  Book," 
1913  credits  the  Negro  with  $700,000,000  worth 
of  property  and  speaks  glowingly  about  the  in- 
crease of  the  previous  ten  years.  The  statement  is 
made  that  farm  land  and  buildings  owned  by  the 
Negro  increased  from  $69,639,426  in  1900  to 
$273,506,665  in  1910,  and  that  during  the  same 
period  the  total  value  of  Negro  farm  property, 
including  live  stock,  and  implements  and  ma- 
chinery increased  from  $177,408,688  to  $492,- 

Now,  the  Census  shows  that  in  1900  Negroes 

"The  Chicago  Tribune,  Dec.  30,  1916,  gives  a  list  of  gifts  to 
charity  during  1916  as  near  $1,000,000,000. 


owned  13,770,801  acres  of  land  entire  and  2,205,- 
297  acres  in  part.  If  their  share  of  the  land  owned 
in  part  were  half,  then,  the  Negroes  had  in  pos- 
session 14,873,449  acres.  In  1910,  they  owned 
15,961,506  acres  entire  and  3,1 14,957  acres  in 
part.  Allowing  them  the  same  share  of  that  held 
in  part  as  for  1900,  gives  them  in  1910,  17,518,- 
984  acres.  However,  only  about  two-fifths  of 
the  land  owned  by  Negroes  is  arable,  the  larger 
part  being  woodland,  swamp,  rough  and  stony 
land,  much  of  which  is  almost  valueless. 

According  to  the  "Negro  Year  Book,"  Negro 
farm  land  and  buildings  increased  in  value  from 
$7.98  an  acre  in  1900  to  $17.40  an  acre  in  1910.* 
If  this  is  true;  the  value  of  the  Negro  lands  and 
buildings  in  1900  was  $118,690,124  instead  of 
$69,639,426;  and  in  1910,  $304,830,032  instead 
of  $273,506,665. 

6  According  to  the  census,  "The  average  value  of  farm  prop- 
erty per  acre  was  $27.01  for  farms  operated  by  Negroes  in  1910 
as  compared  with  $13.08  for  1900,  and  $47.72  for  farms  operated 
by  whites  in  1910."  There  was  no  indication  whether  all  land 
or  merely  arable  land  is  meant.  About  three-fourths  of  the 
farms  operated  by  Negroes  are  rented.  Observation  convinces 
me  that  farms  owned  by  Negroes  are  not  more  than  half  so 
valuable  an  acre  on  the  average  as  the  land  rented  by  them,  for 
from  necessity  they  buy  the  least  valuable  land.  This  being 
true,  Negro  lands  in  1900  could  not  have  been  worth  more  than 
$6.00  an  acre  and  about  $13.00  in  1910.  However,  in  making 
any  calculations  as  to  the  value  of  Negro  lands  and  property,  I 
will  take  the  Negro  Year  Book  estimate  and  apply  it  to  all 
Negro  land. 


Again,  Negroes  operated  in  1910,  893,370 
farms  while  but  241,221  of  these  were  owned  or 
partly  owned  by  them.  An  idea  of  the  value  of  the 
farm  stock  on  these  farms,  and  the  Negroes'  lack 
of  thrift  as  well,  may  be  had  from  a  statement 
made  before  the  Negro  Conference  at  Tuskegee 
Institute  in  1915 : 

"An  investigation  has  shown  that  there  are 
20,000  farms  of  Negroes  on  which  there  are  no 
cattle  of  any  kind;  27,000  on  which  there  are 
no  hogs;  200,000  on  which  no  poultry  is  raised; 
140,000  on  which  no  corn  is  grown;  on  750,000 
farms  of  Negroes  no  oats  are  grown;  on  550,000 
farms  no  sweet  potatoes  are  grown,  and  on  200,- 
ooo  farms  of  Negroes  there  are  no  gardens  of 
any  sort."  7 

According  to  the  Census,  however,  on  farms 
operated  by  Negroes,  farm  implements  and  ma- 
chinery increased  from  $18,859,757  in  1900  to 
$34,178,052  by  1910,  while  live  stock  increased 
in  value  from  $84,936,215  to  $184,896,771. 
Adding  to  these  amounts  for  1910  the  above  sum 
of  $304,830,032  for  Negro  lands  and  buildings 
a  total  of  $523,904,855  is  obtained  for  1910  in- 
stead of  $492,898,216,  which  is  the  Negro  Year 

7  Scott  and  Stowe,  "Booker  T.  Washington,"  p.  171. 


Book  estimate.8  So  here  credit  may  be  given  the 
Negro  for  the  larger  amount. 

Again,  according  to  the  Census  of  1910,  Ne- 
groes owned  around  220,000  homes  other  than 
farm  homes.  No  estimate  as  to  their  value  is 
given.  Although  $400  each  is  undoubtedly  a  high 
valuation  they  may  be  roughly  estimated  at  that. 
This  amounts  to  $88,000,000.  Booker  T.  Wash- 
ington claimed  for  Negroes  just  before  his  death, 
43,000  business  interests.9  The  observation  of  the 
writer  is  that  Negro  business  interests  average 
much  less  than  $1000  each.  Indeed,  great  num- 
bers not  more  than  $100  or  $200  each.  However, 
if  they  average  $1000  each  they  amount  to  $43,- 

By  adding  the  three  items:  $523,904,855,  the 

'The  estimate  of  $7.98  an  acre  in  1900,  and  $17.40  an  acre  in 
1910,  according  to  the  "Negro  Year  Book"  mentioned  above,  is 
undoubtedly  too  high  by  at  least  one-third,  but  I  use  it  so  as  to 
give  them  the  advantage  rather  than  otherwise.  I  know  a  body 
of  1,300  acres  of  land  in  my  own  county,  Dorchester,  Md.,  con- 
sisting of  some  cleared  land,  woodland  and  brushland,  which  a 
real  estate  man  told  me  could  be  bought  at  five  dollars  an  acre. 
This  is  such  land  as  the  Negro  usually  buys.  Only  a  short  dis- 
tance from  the  body  of  land  mentioned  in  this  note  land  is  val- 
ued at  from  twenty-five  to  one  hundred  dollars  an  acre. 

'Among  the  Negro  business  interests  are  64  banks  which  are 
often  mentioned  in  Negro  speeches.  It  seems,  however,  that  two 
of  them  have  failed.  The  total  capital  of  these  banks  is  said  to 
be  $1,500,000.  In  striking  contrast  are  the  27,000  white  banks 
with  $2,162,900,000  capital.  Petersburg,  Negro  settlement  in 
Md.,  mentioned  above,  has  two  Negro  stores  with  hardly  $100 
worth  of  goods,  each. 


value  of  Negro  farm  property;  $88,000,000,  Ne- 
gro-owned homes  other  than  farm  homes;  and 
$43,000,000,  the  value  of  the  Negro  business  in- 
terests; a  grand  total  of  $654,904,855  is  obtain- 
ed. Thus  it  would  appear  that  in  1913  Negroes 
might  have  had  around  $700,000,000  worth  of 
property  in  their  possession. 

Naturally  the  next  question  that  comes  to  mind 
is  this:  How  much  does  the  Negro  owe? 

Scarcely  without  exception  the  white  man  is  his 
creditor,  consequently  what  the  Negro  owes  is  to 
be  subtracted  from  the  amount  of  his  possessions. 

According  to  the  Census  of  1910,  something  like 
65,000  Negro  farms  and  50,000  Negro-owned 
homes  have  mortgages  or  similar  encumbrances 
against  them.  It  is  unlikely  that  this  is  true  to 
any  large  extent  except  as  regards  the  more  valua- 
ble Negro  properties,  If  the  average  farm 
mortgage  is  $500  and  the  average  home  mort- 
gage $300  both  together  will  amount  to  $47,500,- 
ooo.  It  is  reasonable  to  suppose  also  that  the 
43,000  business  interests  owe  at  least  $15,000,000. 

Again,  while  more  than  150,000  Negro  farms 
and  about  as  many  more  Negro  homes  were  re- 
ported by  the  census  as  free  of  encumbrance,  never- 
theless, it  is  not  unlikely  that  they  owe  a  large 
amount  of  money  in  notes,  bills,  etc.  Nor  need  it 
be  forgotten  that  often  Negro  tenants  owe  their 


landlords  fully  as  much  as  the  entire  value  of  such 
tenant's  personal  property.10  Many  Negroes  in 
one  way  or  another  owe  about  as  much  as  they 
are  worth.  This  is  undoubtedly  true  of  some 
white  men,  also,  but  the  point  is,  what  Negroes 
owe  they  owe  to  white  men.  A  well-to-do  farmer 
told  the  writer  a  few  years  ago  that  he  held  vari- 
ous kinds  of  small  claims  to  the  amount  of  more 
than  $4000  against  the  Negroes  of  his  community. 
So,  $50,000,000  should  not  be  an  excessive  esti- 
mate for  such  Negro  liabilities. 

By  adding  these  various  items;  $47,500,000 
in  mortgages  and  liens  against  Negro  farms  and 
homes;  $15,000,000  against  Negro  business  in- 
terests; and  $50,000,000  against  Negro  farm  own- 
ers, home  owners,  tenants,  etc.,  gives  a  grand  total 
of  $112,500,000.  Subtracting  this  from  $654,- 
904,855,  which  was  found  to  be  the  value  of  Ne- 
gro property,  leaves  $542,404,855  as  the  value 
of  Negro  property  when  debts  are  paid. 

Again,  in  regard  to  the  statement  above  that 
Negro  farm  property  increased  in  value  from 
$222,485,096  in  1900  to  $523,904,855  in  1910 
one  may  need  to  be  reminded  that  live  stock  and 
land  about  doubled  in  money  value  during  this 

10  I  make  no  mention  of  the  little  personal  property  often  not 
taxed  many  poorer  Negroes  possess,  for  the  reason  that  usually 
such  Negroes  owe  retail  store  keepers  even  more  than  their 
little  property  would  sell  for. 


time  and  that  by  1913  they  had  more  than  doubled. 
This  was  due  mainly  to  the  wonderful  increase  in 
the  output  of  gold  mines  thus  making  money 
cheaper.  With  this  depreciation  in  the  value  of 
money  the  Negro,  of  course,  had  nothing  to  do. 

Except  for  this,  it  is  unlikely  that  the  $222,- 
485,096  the  valuation  of  Negro  farm  property 
in  1900  would  have  increased  to  more  than  $265,- 
000,000  in  1910  instead  of  $523,904,855.  For 
during  the  time  the  Negro  added  but  2,645,535 
acres  which  may  be  valued  at  $21,000,000.  The 
remaining  $23,000,000  being  sufficient  to  allow 
for  the  improvement  of  the  land,  if  any,  and  any 
actual  increase  of  cattle  and  farm  machinery.  Now, 
subtracting  $265,000,000  from  $523,904,855 
leaves  $258,904,855  which  was  due  to  rise  in  price 
rather  than  to  effort  on  the  part  of  the  Negro. 
Again,  subtracting  the  $258,904,855  from  $542,- 
404,855,  the  value  of  all  Negro  property  after 
their  debts  were  paid,  leaves  $283,500,000  which, 
except  for  the  circumstances  over  which  the  Ne- 
gro had  no  influence,  would  have  been  the  actual 
wealth  of  the  Negro  about  1913,  instead  of  $700,- 
000,000  as  claimed. 

Of  this  amount,  no  doubt,  quite  a  large  part 
was  given  to  individual  Negroes  by  whites  for  one 
reason  or  another.  I  have  already  adverted  to 
the  fact  that  during  slavery  times  Negroes  often 


received  both  money  and  property  from  kind- 
hearted  masters,  along  with  their  freedom.  How 
much  has  been  given  them  since  emancipation 
would  be  hard  to  determine.  Only  a  short  while 
ago,  indeed,  the  New  York  Tribune  mentioned 
a  white  woman  who  had  left  her  Negro  maid  $12,- 
ooo  in  cash,  and  other  valuables  in  addition.11 

Moreover,  it  has  been  estimated,  that  of  the 
$28,496,946,  the  value  of  plant  equipment  and 
endowment  of  Negro  private  schools,  five-sixths 
was  contributed  by  whites  and  only  one-sixth  by 
Negroes.12  During  the  years  1912  and  1913  white 
people  gave  nearly  $2,000,000  towards  Negro 
education.18  Nor  does  there  appear  to  be  any  fall- 
ing off  in  the  white  man's  gifts  to  Negro  schools. 
In  the  early  part  of  the  year  1917,  the  Rockefeller 
Foundation  appropriated  to  American  schools  and 
colleges  $575,200,  of  which  $197,000,  several 
times  their  share,  was  given  to  Negro  schools.14 
In  addition,  Federal  and  State  institutions  for  the 
higher  education  of  the  Negro  have  an  income 
about  $1,000,000  and  property  valued  at  $6,000,- 
ooo.1B  Nor  is  this  all,  no  doubt,  Southern  whites 

u  New  York  Tribune,  Jan.  25,  1917. 

tt  "Negro  Education,"  Government  Printing  Office,  1917,  Vol. 
I,  p.  8. 

11  U.  S.  Educational  Report,  1914,  Vol.  I,  pp.  612-13. 

"Baltimore  Sun,  Jan.  30,  1917. 

""Negro  Education,"  Government  Printing  Office,  1917,  Vol.  I, 
p.  12. 


have  contributed  several  times  as  much  to  Negro 
education  by  taxation  as  has  been  given  otherwise. 
Again,  the  amount  of  money  and  lands  that  the 
Negro  secured  during  the  reconstruction  period 
might  be  an  interesting  subject  for  investigation. 
The  Negro  legislator  had  the  same  privilege  as 
the  white  one  to  sell  his  vote  and  influence.  Nor 
could  there  be  little  doubt  that  he  failed  to  use 
the  opportunity.  The  following  story  is  credited 
to  Senator  Z.  B.  Vance  of  North  Carolina : 18 

A  Negro  member  of  the  North  Carolina  legis- 
lature was  found  chuckling  to  himself  over  a  pile 
of  money  which  he  was  counting.  "What  amuses 
you  so?"  he  was  asked.  "Well,  boss,"  he  re- 
plied, grinning  from  ear  to  ear,  "I's  been  sold  in 
my  life  'leven  times,  an'  fo'  de  Lord,  dis  is  de  fust 
time  I  eber  got  de  money." 

During  the  Reconstruction  period  taxes  became 
so  oppressive  that  thousands  and  thousands  of 
farms  and  plantations  were  sold  at  auction  for" 
taxes.  In  some  places  land  became  almost  value- 
less. It  is  hardly  to  be  doubted  that  many  Ne- 
groes who  got  easy  money  through  politics  at  this 
time  failed  to  use  some  of  it  in  the  purchase  of 

"James  Ford  Rhodes,  "History  of  United  States,"  Vol.  VI,  p. 


Now,  what  is  the  reason  for  the  poverty  of  the 
Negro?  Indeed,  from  the  foregoing  it  must  ap- 
pear that  poverty  is  a  more  appropriate  word  to 
use  in  such  connection  than  wealth.  The  answer 
is  not  far  to  seek.  It  is  the  natural  result  of  the 
Negro  character,  disposition,  and  training.  The 
following  letter  is  suggestive : 

"...  'I  have  done  my  work  practically  the 
whole  summer  with  the  exception  of  a  few  weeks 
that  I  had  a  trifling  no  account  Negro,  and  even 
then  I  had  to  do  the  best  portion  of  it  in  order  to 
get  them  to  accomplish  anything.  When  they 
would  wash  and  iron,  those  days  I  did  everything 
else  and  they  helped  a  little  with  the  ironing,  for 
if  I  didn't  they  would  never  get  through.  They 
[Negroes]  are  absolutely  worthless,  and  if  I 
didn't  have  small  children  I  wouldn't  let  one  light 
within  a  mile  of  me.  .  .  .  "  1T 

A  Negro  who  worked  in  the  strawberry  section 
of  Delaware  told  the  writer  a  few  years  ago  that 
although  he  usually  worked  in  the  daytime  he 
roved  about  every  night.  It  happened  that  once, 
when  he  had  been  carousing  as  usual  on  the  night 
before,  that  he  was  put  to  harrowing  strawber- 

17  Quotation   from   a   letter  shown  to  the  writer,  which   was 
written  by  a  woman  in  Richmond. 


ries.  About  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  the 
overseer  came  along  and  found  that  he  was  har- 
rowing up  the  strawberries  from  one  end  of  the 
row  to  the  other, — he  was  so  sleepy.  The  over- 
seer simply  told  him  to  put  his  horse  in  the  stable 
and  go  to  bed,  which  he  did.  As  he  got  some 
sleep,  when  night  came  he  was  out  again  for  a- 
great  part  of  the  night;  and  so  on. 

As  a  laborer,  the  Negro  is  not  so  satisfactory 
asj  formerly.  The  old-time  Negro,  trained  in 
slavery  to  work,  has  about  passed  away  and  his 
successor  is  far  less  efficient  and  faithful  to  duty. 
Lately,  large  numbers  of  Negro  laborers  have 
shown  a  tendency  to  leave  the  farms  for  work  on 
railroads,  in  sawmills,  and  in  the  cities,  large  num- 
bers migrating  to  the  cities  of  the  North.  They 
like  to  work  in  crowds  and  this  often  results  in 
making  more  work  for  the  police. 

From  the  good  wages  Negro  laborers  have  re- 
ceived for  several  years,  many  of  the  more  far- 
sighted  have  saved  enough  to  buy  little  homes.  A 
few  of  the  more  ambitious  may  continue  to  save, 
but  far  the  greater  part  are  then  perfectly  satis- 
fied and  settle  down  to  a  life  of  ease  and  content- 
ment. By  raising  a  hog  or  two,  a  few  chickens, 
some  garden  vegetables,  and,  with  a  day's  work 
now  and  then,  they  pass  their  time  in  a  way  suited 
to  their  indifferent  nature. 


A  concrete  example  may  be  of  interest.  A  pure 
Negro,  about  thirty-five  years  of  age,  a  few  years 
ago,  purchased  about  half  an  acre  of  land  on  the 
bank  of  a  "branch"  near  a  small  village  in  Mary- 
land. For  a  few  dollars  he  bought  an  old  dis- 
carded house  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  yards 
away,  and  with  the  aid  of  neighbors  moved  it  on 
his  lot.  It  is  doubtful  if  both  the  lot,  and  the  house 
(after  being  moved  and  repaired)  cost  him  more 
than  one  hundred  dollars. 

This  Negro  has  been  living  in  it  for  years  and 
seems  perfectly  contented.  His  family  consists  of 
himself,  wife  and  three  daughters  eleven  to  seven- 
teen years  of  age.  The  surrounding  country  is 
one  of  the  best  tomato  growing  sections  in  the 
United  States  and  during  about  six  weeks  of  the  to- 
mato season  tomato  pickers  are  in  great  demand 
and  make  good  wages.  During  this  time  the  Ne- 
gro man  and  his  family  usually  work  hard;  for 
they  pick  by  the  basket  and  make  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  two  hundred  dollars.  This  is  practically 
their  year's  work.  The  remainder  of  the  year 
they  do  but  little.  They  have  a  garden,  pigs,  and 
chickens.  It  would  be  an  easy  matter  for  this 
family  to  get  ahead  in  the  world ;  but  they  prefer 
the  easy  life  of  comparative  idleness, — for  this 
was  their  incentive  to  secure  a  home. 

This  is  also  one  of  the  main  reasons,  no  doubt, 


for  the  great  increase  in  Negro  tenant  farmers, 
especially  that  of  share  tenants.  The  latter  class 
increased  about  thirty-six  per  cent  between  1900 
and  1910.  Many  of  these  seldom  work  a  full 
day  at  a  time.  As  they  usually  put  off  cultivating 
a  crop  to  the  last  moment,  if  a  wet  season  hap- 
pens to  set  in,  it  is  soon  greatly  damaged  by  a 
growth  of  grass.  As  a  tenant  farmer,  the  Ne- 
gro realizes  that  he  is  more  independent,  his  time 
is  his  own,  and  that  he  can  usually  work  when  he 
pleases.  A  great  part  of  his  time  is  given  to  vari- 
ous Negro  recreations, — such  as  visiting,  riding 
and  driving,  crap-shooting,  preaching,  attending 
revivals,  and  camp-meetings. 

So  the  cause  of  the  Negro's  failure  to  secure 
a  reasonable  share  of  wealth  is  not  lack  of  oppor- 
tunity,— for  (at  least,  in  the  South)  he  has  every 
opportunity  that  he  could  wish  in  order  to  do  so, — 
but  rather  to  his  racial  traits  or  characteristics, — 
some  of  which  are :  a  happy-go-lucky  disposition, 
indolence,  shiftlessness,  laziness,  indifference,  lack 
of  mental  stamina  and  ambition,  and  strong  crim- 
inal tendencies. 



MANY  solutions  of  the  Negro  problem  have 
been  proposed.  Men  so  gifted  with  imagination 
that  they  do  not  find  it  necessary  to  consider  either 
logic  or  facts,  over  and  again,  in  a  single  speech 
or  magazine  article,  have  solved  it  to  their  indi- 
vidual satisfaction.  Such  proposed  solutions  are 
usually  no  less  preposterous  than  visionary.  With 
these  I  have  nothing  to  do.  As  elsewhere  in  this 
study,  so  also  here,  I  consider  only  what  seems 
to  have  a  firm  basis  of  fact. 

However,  in  passing,  I  may  be  pardoned,  if  I 
have  the  temerity  to  suggest  the  following,  which, 
although  seemingly  fanciful,  yet  may  have  suffi- 
cient ground  in  reason  as  to  merit  some  considera- 
tion: If  about  100,000  square  miles  of  territory 
on  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  embracing,  say,  Louisiana 
east  of  the  Mississippi  River,  excepting  New  Or- 
leans,— the  southern  part  of  Mississippi  and  Ala- 
bama, the  part  of  Florida  south  of  Alabama,  and 
a  small  part  of  southwest  Georgia,  were  set  apart 
as  a  State  or  States  to  which  all  the  Negroes  in 



other  parts  of  the  country  be  encouraged  or 
obliged  to  migrate,  it  might  result  in  great  good  to 
both  races. 

Something  like  half  the  population  of  this  sec- 
tion are  Negroes,  while  the  whites  that  are  here 
are  mostly  in  the  towns  and  cities.  The  area  sug- 
gested is  more  than  that  of  New  York  and  Penn- 
sylvania combined.  There  would  be  room  for  all 
Negroes  in  the  country  for  generations  to  come. 
As  the  Negro  states  would  be  members  of  the 
Union,  with  representatives  and  senators  in  Con- 
gress, the  Negroes  would  have  an  opportunity 
under  the  Federal  Government  to  develop  a  po- 
litical and  social  world  of  their  own  removed  from 
the  overshadowing  presence  of  the  white  man.  If 
the  Negro  showed  himself  unable  to  develop  the 
power  of  local  self-government  under  such  an  ar- 
rangement, his  case  would  be  absolutely  hopeless. 
However,  there  are  so  many  difficulties  in  the  way 
and  so  many  objections  that  might  be  made  that 
no  one  need  either  hope  or  fear  that  any  such 
thing  will  ever  be  undertaken. 

But  somewhat  more  in  keeping  with  common 
sense  and  prevalent  ideas  is  the  proposal  that  Ne- 
groes be  encouraged  to  distribute  themselves 
equally  over  the  country;  thus  relieving  the  South 
of  its  burden  of  Negro  population.  If  such  an 
equalization  of  the  Negro  population  could  be  car- 


ried  out,  the  Negro  then  being  everywhere  few  in 
numbers  to  the  whites,  could  the  better  be  held 
to  the  white  man's  standard  of  conduct.  Not  only 
so,  but  the  Negro  would  have  an  opportunity  to 
absorb  the  white  man's  civilization  more  quickly, 
if  ever.  In  addition,  the  race  question  would 
cease  to  be  sectional,  and  laws  mutually  advantage- 
ous to  both  races  could  then  be  passed. 

Before  going  further,  even  at  the  risk  of  digress- 
ing,— for  it  is  a  matter  of  justice  to  the  Negro, — 
it  should  be  said  in  favor  of  the  Negro  that  even 
though  he  is  the  most  alien  race  among  us,  no 
question  as  to  his  patriotism  is  ever  raised.  He 
has  fought  in  all  our  great  wars  and  has  shown 
himself  patriotic  to  the  core. 

A  day  or  two  after  President  Wilson  had  made 
his  German  War  address  before  Congress,  the 
writer  happened  by  the  Star  bulletin  board  in 
Washington,  and  noticed  a  German  talking  to  a 
big  burly  Negro  against  war  with  Germany.  He 
pointed  to  the  bulletin  board  and  told  him  not  to 
believe  anything  he  saw  there  for  it  was  all  lies 
made  in  London.  The  Negro  seemed  to  listen  in 
a  half-disgusted  sort  of  way,  but  as  he  started  off 
he  was  understood  to  say: 

"I  wish  I  was  with  some  colored  soldiers  in 
Europe.  We  would  show  the  Germans  how  to 


The  Negro  has  no  kindred  country  to  look 
to,  so  he  is  undivided  in  his  allegiance.  This  can- 
not be  said  of  all  other  races  among  us, — not  of 
the  Japanese  and  Chinese  who  seek  admission  at 
our  Pacific  shores.  Like  the  Negro  they  cannot 
be  assimilated  by  our  people.  In  numbers,  how- 
ever, they  would  constitute  a  much  more  danger- 
ous element  to  our  welfare  and  safety  than  the 
Negro.  Japan  is  almost  abreast  of  our  civiliza- 
tion and  the  western  nations  are  doing  their  best 
to  train  China  to  be  an  antagonist  worthy  of  their 
steel,  should  she  ever  have  cause  to  cross  swords 
with  them.  Large  numbers  of  Chinese  and  Jap- 
anese would  not  only  add  to  our  race  problems  but 
would  increase  our  chances  for  friction  with  their 
home  governments.  In  addition  they  might  con- 
stitute a  reverse  army  of  the  enemy  in  our  midst 
in  case  of  war.  But  no  such  danger  need  be  feared 
from  the  presence  of  the  Negro. 

I  have  just  adverted  to  the  fact  that  the  yellow 
race  and  the  black  are  not  easily  assimilated  with 
the  white  race.  It  may  be  well  that  it  is  so.  To 
the  normal  white  man  amalgamation  with  these 
races  is  almost  unthinkable.  Nevertheless,  there 
are  a  few  misguided  individuals  who  surely  have 
either  a  mental  or  a  moral  twist  who  persist  in 
joining  together  that  which  nature  has  put  asunder. 


A  few  years  ago,  a  minister  sent  the  following 
telegram  to  the  Governor  of  California : l 

"I  have  just  married  a  Japanese  to  an  Ameri- 
can and  have  done  more  for  God  and  Uncle  Sam 
than  the  alien  land  bill  will  do  in  1000  years." 

It  is  not  the  ungodly  that  cause  the  suffering  in 
the  world  so  much  as  the  bigoted  if  well-intention- 
ed fools.  Self-elected  good  people  can  usually  be 
counted  on  to  cause  a  lot  of  mischief.  If  those 
who  set  themselves  up  as  leaders  and  ethical  teach- 
ers would  but  first  make  sure  that  they  were  pos- 
sessed of  at  least  a  fair  amount  of  common  sense ! 

In  a  recent  Methodist  Conference  at  Roanoke, 
Virginia,  the  statement  was  made  that  the  rec- 
ords of  some  churches  in  Massachusetts  show  that 
in  the  previous  year  "17  per  cent  of  the  marriages 
were  those  in  which  Negro  men  married  white 
women  or  white  men  married  Negro  women."  2 
This  is  the  more  remarkable  when  account  is  taken 
of  the  very  small  Negro  population  of  that  State. 

It  is  even  sometimes  asserted  that  the  Negro 
would  bring  to  the  white  race  some  qualities  which 
would  tend  toward  the  development  of  a  more  per- 
fect man.  But  such  an  idea  has  no  basis  in  fact. 
The  following  quotation  is  to  the  point : 

1  Baltimore  American,  May  23,  1913. 
*  Baltimore  Sun,  March  30,  1917. 


"We  have  ample  experience  to  go  upon  in 
South  America,  in  the  West  Indies,  in  the  South- 
ern States  themselves.  The  mulatto  exists  and  has 
existed  for  generations,  not  in  hundreds  or  thou- 
sands, but  in  millions;  in  what  respect  has  he 
proved  himself  the  superior  of  the  pure  Spaniard, 
or  Portuguese,  or  Anglo-Saxon?  Does  South 
American  history  bear  testimony  to  his  political 
competence?  Have  his  achievements  in  science,  in 
literature,  in  music,  been  superior  to  the  un-Afri- 
canized  peoples?  Or  waiving  the  question  of  su- 
periority, has  he  ever  in  these  domains,  produced 
meritorious  work  in  any  fair  proportion  to  his 
numbers?  I  do  not  say  that  it  is  impossible  to 
make  out  a  sort  of  case  for  him,  by  the  ransacking 
of  records  and  the  employment  of  a  very  indefinite 
standard  of  values.  But  I  do  most  emphatically 
say  that  no  conspicuous  or  undeniable  advantage 
has  resulted  from  the  blending  of  bloods,  such  as 
can  or  ought  to  counteract  the  instinctive  repug- 
nance of  the  South."  3 

It  is  said  that  an  investigation  of  2200  Negro 
authors  showed  that  nearly  all  of  them  come  from 
the  mixed  stock.4  How  many  of  these  would  take 

*  William  Archer,  in  McClure's,  July,  1909. 

*  C.  A.  Ell  wood,  "Sociology  and  Modern  Social  Problems,"  p. 


first,  second,  or  even  third  rank  in  the  literary 
world?  It  is  needless  to  answer.  Indeed,  Negroes 
and  mulattoes  have  been  toilers  in  the  United 
States  for  generations  but  who  ever  heard  of  an 
important  labor  saving  instrument  invented  by 
them?  The  same  abilities  or  characteristics  which 
would  make  a  white  man  only  locally  important 
would  make  a  Negro  or  a  mulatto  famous.  There 
were  thousands  upon  thousands  of  white  men  in- 
tellectually and  otherwise  superior  to  Booker  T. 
Washington  who  gained  but  little  recognition,  but 
because  he  was  a  negro,  or  rather  mulatto,  Wash-, 
ington's  abilities  stood  out  in  striking  relief.  Mu- 
lattoes ought  to  furnish  the  leaders  of  the  Negro 
race  for  the  best  white  blood  runs  in  the  veins  of 
some  of  them.  Although  mulattoes  may  furnish 
the  Negro  leaders,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  they 
also  furnish  far  beyond  their  share  of  the  vicious 
and  the  criminal  elements  of  the  race  as  well. 

It  may  be  pertinent  in  this  connection,  however, 
to  observe  that  in  the  South  the  two  races  have 
been  gradually  drawing  apart,  amalgamation  or 
miscegenation  is  becoming  more  and  more  repug- 
nant, the  conditions  which  favored  it  do  not  ob- 
tain to  anything  like  the  extent  as  formerly,  as  a 
consequence  the  mixing  between  the  whites  and 
the  blacks  is  rapidly  lessening.  Although  the  cen- 
sus shows  an  increase  in  the  number  of  mulattoes 


from  decade  to  decade,  the  increase  is  mainly  due 
to  the  mixing  of  mulattoes  with  pure  Negroes. 

Some  students  of  the  subject,  who  seemingly  are 
more  familiar  with  the  conditions  in  the  North  and 
the  border  States  than  with  those  of  the  farther 
South,  sometimes  estimate  from  one-third  to  one- 
half  of  the  Negroes  in  the  United  States  to  be  mu- 
lattoes. This,  I  am  confident,  is  a  mistake.  I 
was  reared  in  a  border  State,  have  spent  some  time 
in  the  North  as  well  as  in  several  Southern  States, 
and  have  been  in  many  of  the  leading  cities  of  the 
South.  My  observation  leads  me  to  believe  that 
the  Census,  in  this  respect,  is  more  nearly  correct 
than  any  other  source  of  information. 

The  Agents  of  the  Census,  in  1910,  were  in- 
structed to  "report  as  'black'  all  persons  who  were 
evidently  full  blood  Negroes  and  as  'mulattoes' 
all  other  persons  having  some  proportion  or  per- 
ceptible trace  of  Negro  blood."  Accordingly  in 
a  population  of  9,928,000  Negroes  in  the  United 
States  there  were  found  to  be  2,050,000  mulat- 
toes, 20.9  per  cent,  or  a  little  more  than  one- 

By  geographic  divisions  the  percentage  of  mu- 
lattoes among  the  Negroes  was  as  follows :  New 
England,  33.4  per  cent;  Middle  Atlantic  States, 
19.6;  East  North  Central,  33.2 ;  West  North  Cen- 
tral, 28.7;  South  Atlantic,  20.8;  East  South  Cen- 


tral,  19.1;  West  South  Central,  20.1;  Mountain, 
28.6;  and  Pacific  States,  34.7. 

Of  the  Northern  States,  Michigan  took  first 
place,  with  47  per  cent  of  mulattoes  among  her 
Negroes.  Maine  was  next,  with  45.9;  and  Wis- 
consin third,  with  39.4.  Those  with  the  smallest 
percentage  were  Wyoming,  13.1  per  cent;  New 
Jersey,  15.8;  and  Pennsylvania,  19.2.  The  South- 
ern States  having  the  largest  percentage  were,  Vir- 
ginia, 33.2  per  cent;  West  Virginia,  32.5;  and 
Missouri,  28.4  per,  cent.  A  large  number  of 
States  in  the  South  had  a  small  percentage  of  mu- 
lattoes among  their  Negroes:  Maryland,  18.6 
per  cent;  Georgia,  17.3;  Mississippi,  16.9;  Ala- 
bama, 16.7;  South  Carolina,  16.1;  Florida,  16.0; 
Delaware,  11.9;  and  the  Eastern  Shore  of  Mary- 
land which  borders  Delaware  on  two  sides,  had 
only  1 1. 1  per  cent,  or  one  mulatto  to  every  nine 
Negroes;  thus  the  Eastern  Shore  has  the  distinc- 
tion of  having  fewer  mulattoes  in  proportion  to 
its  Negro  population  than  any  other  section.  It 
is  therefore  evident  that  in  the  North  the  propor- 
tion of  mulattoes  among  the  Negroes  is  from  about 
one-fifth  to  almost  one-half;  while  in  the  South  the 
proportion  ranges  from  above  one-eighth  to  about 
one-third.  In  the  States  where  the  bulk  of  the 
Negro  population  is  found  it  is  only  about  one- 
sixth.  With  slight  exceptions,  it  seems  to  be  true 


that  the  fewer  to  the  white  population  the  more 
mulattoes  there  are  in  proportion  to  the  number  of 
the  Negroes. 

Indeed,  may  it  not  be  true  that  the  much  larger 
proportional  number  of  mulattoes  among  the  Ne- 
groes of  the  North  in  no  small  measure  accounts 
for  the  greater  proportional  amount  of  crime 
among  the  Negroes  of  the  North?  So  it  would 
appear  that  the  amalgamation  or  miscegenation  of 
the  whites  and  the  Negroes  is  not  a  leveling  up 
but  rather  a  leveling  down  process;  at  best  nothing 
otherwise  than  building  up  the  Negro  by  lowering 
the  white.  So  no  greater  nor  more  fearful  calam- 
ity could  befall  the  white  race  in  America  than 
that  the  Negro  should  lose  his  identity  through 
being  absorbed  by  this  great  division  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  race. 

Again,  many  optimistic  white  men  have  thought 
that  the  Negro  could  be  raised  to  the  white  man's 
level  by  means  of  the  training  and  culture  that 
comes  through  the  study  of  books.  To  these  edu- 
cation for  the  Negro  has  been  a  watchword.  To  a 
large  extent  Southern  whites  have  been  in  sym- 
pathy with  the  education  of  the  Negro.  Indeed, 
many  years  ago,  contrary  to  what  one  not  familiar 
with  the  South  might  suppose,  a  prominent  man 
in  North  Carolina  in  seeking  a  congressional 
nomination  on  a  platform  hostile  to  Negro  educa- 


tion  failed  even  to  carry  his  home  county.  And 
efforts  to  restrict  the  amount  appropriated  to  Ne- 
gro schools  to  the  part  of  the  school  taxes  paid 
by  Negroes  have  failed. 

Since  1870  the  South  has  spent  on  Negro  edu- 
cation around  $230,000,000  and  is  now  appro- 
priating for  that  purpose  near  $10,000,000,  an- 
nually. It  is  doubtful  if  the  Negro  contributes  in  r^ 
taxes  even  half  the  amount  spent  on  his  public 
schools.  In  1912,  according  to  the  Educational 
Report  of  that  State,  North  Carolina  spent  $436,- 
480.08  for  Negro  teachers  and  Negro  school 
buildings,  of  which  the  Negro  contributed  in  taxes 
for  schools  $190,378.81,  or  a  little  more  than 
two-fifths.  Texas  spends  not  far  from  $2,000,000 
a  year  on  Negro  schools,  and  Georgia  about  $850,- 
ooo.  The  District  of  Columbia,  indeed,  spends 
more  per  capita  on  Negro  pupils  than  on  whites. 
However,  this  is  a  notable  exception. 

There  are  also  more  than  six  hundred  private 
and  denominational  schools  of  secondary  and  col- 
lege grade  in  the  United  States  for  the  higher  edu- 
cation of  the  Negro.  The  property  of  these  is 
valued  at  about  $28,500,000^  From  1865  to 
1917  about  $65,000,000  has  been  contributed  to 
Negro  education  in  the  South  through  various  re- 
ligious and  philanthropic  organizations. 

8  Negro  Education  (Government  Report),  Vol.  I,  p.  8. 


But  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  the  illiteracy 
of  the  Negro  race  had  been  reduced  by  1910  to 
about  thirty-three  per  cent,  there  is  a  widespread 
feeling  of  disappointment  in  Negro  education. 
Not  that  it  has  made  the  Negro  more  criminal 
as  has  sometimes  been  said,  however,  this  is  not 
yet  well  determined,  but  rather  that  it  has  failed 
to  make  him  a  greater  producer,  or  to  aid  him 
to  adjust  himself  to  economic  conditions.  Instead 
of  firing  him  with  the  desire  to  do  more  and  bet- 
ter work,  too  often  he  quits  it  altogether. 

As  a  teacher  or  a  preacher  the  Negro  has  a 
wide  field  for  his  race  needs  him  and  the  State 
and  the  Church  pay  him.  But  as  a  doctor,  law- 
yer, or  other  professional,  poverty  and  pauperism 
(the  condition  of  the  greater  part  of  the  Negro 
race)  militate  against  them.  In  addition,  the  Ne- 
gro has  not  yet  sufficient  confidence  in  the  profes- 
sional skill  of  those  of  his  own  race  as  to  cause 
him  to  employ  them  exclusively. 

There  is  a  growing  conviction  in  the  South  that 
the  first  aim  of  Negro  education  should  be  to  fit 
the  Negro  for  the  opportunities  of  his  social  and 
industrial  environment.  Also  that  it  should  en- 
deavor to  strengthen  his  will  power,  in  order  that 
he  may  overcome  his  constitutional  inertia;  and 
that  it  should  give  him  a  knowledge  of  sanitary 
living,  thus  preventing  disease. 


In  the  South  Carolina  Public  School  Report  for 
1915,  the  State  Superintendent  of  Schools  has  this 
to  say: 

"The  Negro  is  here  and  is  here  to  stay.  He 
cannot  remain  ignorant  without  injury  to  himself, 
his  white  neighbors  and  to  the  Commonwealth. 
His  training  should  fit  him  for  the  work  that  is 
open  to  him.  .  .  .  While  industrial  education  is 
needed  for  both  races  it  is  especially  desirable  for 
the  Negro. 

"The  money  now  expended  for  Negro  educa- 
tion is  largely  wasted.  Can  we  afford  longer  to 
allow  this  large  element  in  our  population  to  fol- 
low their  present  practices  and  remain  in  their 
present  condition?" 

Such  schools  as  Hampton  Institute  and  Tuske- 
gee  have  fairly  well  demonstrated  that  industrial 
education  is  at  least  a  good  thing  for  the  Negro. 
In  these  and  other  such  schools  thousands  have 
been  given  an  inspiration  for  a  higher  plane  of 
living.  Indeed,  it  is  claimed  that  very  seldom  is 
any  graduate  of  these  two  schools  convicted  of 
crime  :8  The  influence  of  Tuskegee  on  the  Negro 
in  a  material  way  may  be  appreciated  by  the  state- 
ment that  in  1881  when  the  school  was  opened  in 

'"Education   and   Crime,"  South  Atlantic  Monthly,  January, 


Macon  County,  Alabama,  not  more  than  fifty  or 
sixty  Negroes  in  the  county  owned  land,  but  in 
1910,  503  Negroes  in  the  county  owned  61,689 
acres,  "probably  the  largest  amount  of  land  owned 
by  the  Negroes  of  any  county  in  the  United 
States."  7 

If  a  few  Negro  industrial  schools  make  such  a 
good  showing,  then  why  not  multiply  the  num- 
ber? Indeed,  it  is  yet  too  early  for  either  the  Ne- 
gro or  his  friends  to  indulge  in  too  much  optimism 
in  regard  to  the  matter.  For  while  it  may  be  true 
in  general  that  whatever  is  done  in  behalf  of  a 
lower  element  in  a  society  benefits  the  whole  so- 
ciety, at  the  same  time,  it  needs  to  be  borne  in 
mind  that  to  the  extent  that  it  is  done  to  the  cost 
or  by  the  neglect  of  a  more  homogeneous  and 
wholesome  element  in  the  society  or  if  it  in  any 
way  militates  against  such  element  it  is  a  question- 
able proceeding. 

What  if  the  industrial  education  of  the  Negro 
should  be  found  to  conflict  with  the  interests  of 
the  white  laborer  or  skilled  worker?  Does  any 
one  suppose  that  it  is  the  purpose  of  the  South  so 
to  educate  the  Negro  (or  even  allow  him  to  be  so 
educated)  as  to  enable  him  to  take  the  bread  from 
the  white  man's  mouth?  And  does  any  one  sup- 
pose that  the  laboring  white  man  of  the  arrogant 

T  Scott  and  Stowe,  "Life  of  Booker  T.  Washington,"  p.  176. 


and  aggressive  Anglo-Saxon  race  will  stand  tamely 
by  with  folded  arms  while  there  is  danger  of  its 
being  done? 

This  is  the  central  point  of  the  whole  situation. 
But  in  the  South  the  contest  between  these  two  con- 
flicting interests  is  not  yet,  as  the  demand  for 
labor  skilled  or  unskilled  is  too  great.  The  Negro 
has  had  and  can  have  all  the  work  he  wants  and 
more  for  the  asking;  indeed,  often  his  labor  is 
anxiously  solicited.  How  long  this  will  continue 
no  one  knows,  positively.  However,  when  the 
population  of  the  country  reaches  150,000,000  or 
200,000,000  then  labor  will  likely  be  as  plentiful 
here  as  it  is  now  in  Europe.  Then,  the  labor  of 
the  Negro  will  hardly  be  solicited,  rather  other- 
wise. The  white  man's  sympathetic  attitude  to- 
ward the  Negroes'  many  shortcomings  is  fast 
passing.  When  the  Negro  is  required  to  measure 
up  to  the  white  man's  standard  and  is  found  want- 
ing, what  remains  for  him? 

Furthermore,  the  Negro  might  as  well  get  fully 
in  mind  that,  although  the  white  man  sometimes 
may  win  without  merit  (yet  often  fails  to  win 
even  though  deserving  to  do  so),  for  the  Negro 
himself,  even  though  merit  may  not  win,  without 
it  he  will  have  absolutely  no  show.  He  must  be 
not  only  as  well  adapted  to  an  occupation,  or  quali- 
fied for  it,  as  a  white  man  but  better. 


Until  lately  those  especially  interested  in  the 
welfare  of  the  Negro  might  have  entertained  the 
hope  that  he  would  hold  his  place  in  his  custom- 
ary occupations  or  even  make  them  in  great  part 
his  very  own.  This  would  have  been  a  kind  of 
segregation  to  occupation  analogous  to  his  segre- 
gation as  regards  residence  and  at  least  as  advan- 
tageous to  him.  But  in  hardly  more  than  one  oc- 
cupation is  such  the  case.  As  a  porter  he  seems  to 
have  the  field  practically  to  himself,  and  as  hod- 
carrier  he  is  in  demand.  But  as  a  barber  he  has 
fast  been  losing  ground.  The  Negro  as  a  waiter 
takes  more  pride  in  his  occupation  and  is  more  po- 
lite and  obliging  than  the  white  man  of  the  waiter 
class  but  he  is  even  being  displaced  in  this  work. 
Even  as  a  farm  laborer,  for  which  service  he  has 
been  trained  for  generations,  he  is  losing  his  grip. 
"Too  slow,  unreliable,  inefficient"  are  some  of  the 
counts  against  him. 

The  idea  that  prevails  outside  the  South  that 
Negroes  do  practically  all  the  work  on  Southern 
farms  is  far  from  the  truth.  More  than  half  of 
the  cotton  crop  is  raised  by  white  labor, — in 
Texas,  three-fourths  or  more.  Even  in  sugar  and 
rice  fields  white  labor  is  getting  common.8  Often, 
indeed,  a  farmer  will  not  employ  a  Negro  if  he 
can  get  a  white  man. 

"Year  Book,  Dept.  of  Agriculture,  1910,  p.  193. 


Indeed,  the  Negro  farm  laborer  and  the  Negro 
farmer  are  the  greatest  stumbling-blocks  in  the 
way  of  the  agricultural  development  of  the  South. 
Were  it  possible  to  remove  from  the  South  at 
least  three-fourths  of  these  and  replace  them  with 
whites  whether  native  or  foreign  there  can  be  no 
doubt  that  the  production  of  Southern  farms 
would  be  wonderfully  increased.  It  is  an  injury 
to  the  South  and  to  society  as  a  whole  that  the 
Negro  has  under  his  control  even  as  much  land 
as  at  present.  When  his  "slipshod"  farming  gives 
place  to  more  scientific  and  businesslike  methods 
there  will  be  more  farm  products  for  distribu- 

The  inefficiency  of  the  Negro  as  a  farmer  is 
strikingly  shown  by  a  study  of  the  conditions  in 
several  Mississippi  counties: 

"Lowdnes  County  with  three  Negroes  to  one 
white  man,  having  21,972  blacks  and  7121  whites, 
requires  3.15  acres  to  make  a  bale  of  cotton,  while 
James  County,  with  three  whites  to  one  negro,  hav- 
ing 13,156  whites  and  4,670  blacks,  requires  1.98 
acres  to  make  a  bale.  The  farm  lands  of  Jones 
county  are  valued  in  the  census  reports  at  $2.85 
per  acre  and  the  farm  lands  of  Lowdnes  County 
at  $9.83  an  acre.  Yet  the  poor  lands  of  Jones 
County  under  intelligent  cultivation  produced  near- 

ly  twice  as  much  per  acre  as  the  rich  lands  of 
Lowdnes  County  when  cultivated  mostly  by  Ne- 
groes ...  in  every  comparison  made  between  a 
white  county  and  a  black  one  the  black  was  the 
most  fertile,  yet  the  white  was  nearly  twice  as  pro- 
ductive." 9 

Such  a  poor  showing  for  the  Negro  almost  per- 
suades one  that  he  deserves  to  be  supplanted  by 
whites  in  farm  work  and  in  farming,  even  if  he 
should  not  be.  At  present  the  South  holds  out  un- 
equaled  attractions  in  the  way  of  climate,  rich  soil, 
and  cheap  lands,  to  those  of  other  sections  of  the 
country  who  may  be  seeking  farm  homes.  And 
there  can  be  little  doubt  that  with  the  passing  of 
the  free  public  lands  the  tide  of  immigration  in 
the  near  future  will  set  in  that  direction,  in  spite 
of  the  presence  of  the  Negro.  Then  what  will 
become  of  the  Negro  when  he  shall  have  to  com- 
pete with  the  thrifty  hard-working  Poles,  Bohe- 
mians, and  native  Americans  from  the  North  and 
the  West?  Will  he  be  simply  pushed  aside  and 
left  to  gravitate  to  a  still  lower  level?  Nothing 
will  save  him  unless  he  soon  wonderfully  changes 
in  habits  and  disposition.  So  the  Negro  may  as 
well  look  forward  to  the  time  when  he  will  be  sup- 

*Quoted  by  A.  H.  Stone  in  "American  Race  Problem,"  pp.  177- 
8,  from  J.  C.  Hardy,  "The  South's  Supremacy  in  Cotton  Grow- 
ing," p.  9. 


planted  in  these  occupations  to  which  he  thinks 
himself  so  well  adapted  and  in  which  he  thinks 
himself  so  well  fortified, — those  of  farm  laborer 
and  farmer. 

Finally,  may  not  the  unquestioned  physical  de- 
terioration of  the  Negro  since  his  emancipation  as 
shown  by  his  susceptibility  to  disease  together  with 
his  high  death  rate  portend  the  ultimate  practical 
extinction  of  the  race  in  the  United  States?  Dur- 
ing slavery  times  the  Negro  was  fairly  well  fed 
and  usually  worked  according  to  set  regulations. 
Evidently  such  food  and  training  had  no  little  to 
do  with  developing  a  sound  body,  and  disciplined 
his  mind  to  some  extent  as  well.10 

According  to  De  Bow,  the  mortality  of  the  free 
Negroes  before  the  War  was  a  hundred  per  cent 
greater  than  that  of  the  slaves.  It  even  appears 
that  the  death  of  the  Negroes  in  the  South  at  that 
time  was  less  than  that  of  the  whites.  In  Charles- 
ton, S.  C.,  the  average  death-rate  from  1822  to 
1 86 1  was  25.98  a  thousand  for  whites  and  24.05 

10  "There  were  imported  in  the  British  West  Indies  4,000,000 
Negro  slaves  and  when  they  were  manumitted  there  were  800,- 
ooo.  Into  the  Southern  States  400,000  were  imported  and  there 
were  before  the  war  4,000,000 ;  this  decrease  in  the  former 
and  increase  in  the  latter  are  strong  facts.  The  climate  influ- 
ence was  on  the  side  of  the  West  Indies.  There  must  have 
been  a  very  different  treatment." — Charleston  (S.  C.)  Mercury, 
Nov.  23,  1863.  Quoted  by  it  from  a  London  paper,  written  by 
an  Englishwoman  who  had  spent  a  short  time  in  the  South. 


for  Negroes.  About  the  same  was  true  of  some 
other  cities.  From  1865  to  1894,  however,  the 
average  death-rate  at  Charleston  was  26.77  a 
thousand  for  whites  and  43.29  for  Negroes.11  No 
doubt  the  slight  increase  of  the  death  rate  among 
the  whites  was  due  to  the  rapid  increase  among 
the  Negroes  as  the  whites  necessarily  came  more 
or  less  in  contact  with  the  Negroes. 

Indeed,  very  significant  in  this  connection,  is 
the  statement  made  in  the  "Negro  Year  Book" 
(1914-15)  that  an  average  of  450,000  Negroes  in 
the  South  are  seriously  ill  all  the  time,  and  that 
600,000  of  the  present  population  will  die  of  tuber- 

The  Census  shows  that  both  pneumonia  and 
tuberculosis  are  diseases  very  fatal  to  Negroes. 
And  strange  as  it  may  now  seem,  in  slavery  times 
Negroes  were  thought  to  be  practically  immune 
from  tuberculosis.  Indeed,  it  is  said  that,  about 
1882-3,  there  was  exhibited  at  a  clinic  in  Charles- 
ton, S.  C.,  what  was  supposed  to  have  been  the 
second  case  of  tuberculosis  ever  found  among 
Negroes.12  This  is  very  remarkable,  if  true. 

In  each  city  of  the  following  list  of  twelve  is 
given  the  number  of  times  more  deaths  that  oc- 

11 R.  W.  Woolley,  Pearson's  Magazine,  Feb.,  1910,  p.  210,  quot- 
ing Drs.  Scale,  Harris  and  W.  C.  Woodward. 

"Report  of  Board  of  Prison  Inspectors  of  Alabama,  Sept., 
1910-1914,  p.  45. 


curred  from  tuberculosis  among  Negroes  in  1910, 
according  to  the  Census,  than  among  whites: 
Providence,  1.82;  Richmond,  2.05;  Boston,  2.46; 
Atlanta,  2.48;  New  York,  2.64;  New  Orleans, 
2.70;  Memphis,  2.80;  Philadelphia  3.00;  Balti- 
more, 3.14;  Washington,  3.34;  Charleston,  S.  C., 
3.55.  It  may  be  noticed  that  more  than  three  and 
one-half  times  as  many  Negroes  as  whites  died  of 
tuberculosis  in  Charleston.  The  comparative  sta- 
tistics for  pneumonia  differ  not  very  much  from 
those  of  tuberculosis. 

However,  the  ratio  of  death-rate  from  com- 
bined causes  is  much  lower  than  this.  The  aver- 
age death  rate  a  thousand  in  eight  Northern  States 
in  1910  was  21.9  for  Negroes  and  15.1  for  whites ; 
while  the  average  for  two  Southern  States  was 
23.7  for  Negroes  and  15.2  for  whites.  In  ten 
Northern  cities  it  was  23.64  for  Negroes  and 
15.99  f°r  whites;  for  the  same  number  of  cities 
in  the  South  it  was  30.60  for  Negroes  and  17.22 
for  whites.13  Again,  in  thirty-three  Northern 
cities  the  death  rate  among  Negroes  was  25.1  a 

"Northern  States:  Me.,  Mass.,  Mich.,  N.  J.,  N.  Y.,  O.,  Pa., 
and  R.  I.;  Southern:  Md.  and  N.  C.  These  were  the  only 
Southern  States  mentioned  in  this  connection  in  the  census. 
Northern  cities:  New  Haven,  Boston,  Detroit,  Atlantic  City, 
Trenton,  Cleveland,  Springfield,  Philadelphia,  Chicago,  and 
Kansas  City;  Southern:  Washington,  Baltimore,  Wilmington, 
N.  C.,  Mobile,  Atlanta,  Savannah,  New  Orleans,  Memphis, 
Charleston,  S.  C.,  and  Richmond. 

thousand  and  15.7  among  whites,  while  in  twenty- 
four  Southern  cities  the  death-rate  was  29.6  for 
Negroes  and  16.9  for  whites.  For  the  fifty-seven 
cities  together,  27.8  for  Negroes  and  15.9  for 
whites.14  Thus,  it  is  seen  that  the  death  rate 
among  Negroes  is  not  far  from  twice  as  great  as 
among  whites,  but  contrary  to  the  general  impres- 
sion it  is  less  in  the  North  than  in  the  South. 

Moreover,  statistics  show  that  the  Negro  is  not 
increasing  in  this  country  as  fast  in  proportion  as 
is  the  white  man.  Indeed,  he  seems  to  be  falling 
behind  in  his  own  percentage  of  increase.  Be- 
tween 1890  and  1900  his  increase  was  i,345»3i& 
but  from  1900  to  1910  it  was  only  993,769. 
Again,  the  percentage  of  Negroes  in  the  popula- 
tion of  the  country  decreased  from  19.03  per  cent 
in  1810  to  10.69  per  cent  in  1910,  and  from  14.13 
per  cent  in  1860  to  10.69  Per  cent  *n  I9I°-  ^n 
other  words,  while  the  whites  increased  nearly 
three  and  one-half  (3.4)  times  between  1860  and 
1910,  the  Negro  increased  only  two  and  two- 
tenths  (2.2)  times. 

That  this  difference  between  the  increase  of 
the  two  races  was  not  due  to  the  immigration  of 
whites  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  from  1800  to  1840 
when  there  was  scarcely  any  immigration  of  whites 
the  population  of  the  country  increased  more  than 

"  Department  of  Commerce  Bulletin  129,  p.  44. 


three  and  a  fifth  (3.21)  times,  while  from  1870  to 
1910,  an  equal  number  of  years,  when  immigra- 
tion was  almost  at  its  height,  the  increase  was  only 
a  little  more  than  two  and  a  third  (2.38)  times. 
Again,  during  the  fifty  years,  1790  to  1840,  it 
increased  four  and  a  third  (4.34)  times;  also,  be- 
tween 1810  and  1860  it  increased  in  the  same  ratio 
(4.34)  ;  while  for  the  fifty  years  from  1860  to 
1910  it  increased  only  something  more  than  two 
and  three-fourths  (2.86)  times. 

Indeed,  it  is  said  that  "the  Southern  States, 
which  have  received  practically  no  immigrants 
since  the  Civil  War,  have  increased  their  popula- 
tion as  rapidly  as  the  Northern  States;  that  is,  the 
increase  of  population  among  the  Southern  whites 
has  been  equal  to  the  Northern  increase  assisted 
by  immigration."  15 

While  these  facts  may  not  be  sufficient  evidence 
that  the  Negro  will  finally  become  extinct  in  this 
country,  nevertheless,  it  is  impossible  for  one  to 
escape  the  conclusion  that  as  the  years  go  by  the 
members  of  his  race  will  become  fewer  and  fewer 
in  proportion  to  the  whole  population.  As  this 
comes  about  the  Negro  will  gradually  cease  to  be 
such  a  problem,  as  at  present. 

11 C.  A.  Ellwood:  "Sociology  and  Modern  Social  Problems," 
p.  212. 

Collins,  Winfield  Hazlitt 
185        The  truth  about  lynching